On Throwback Thursdays we at Literary Labors will feature reprints of previously published blog posts and creative work. This poem first appeared in issue 1.4 of Golden Walkman Magazine (April 2014).
They fell and fluttered into the failing blue.
A solitary cloud, a fat one, their source,
floated over the car in the gravel drive as a porch bulb flared at the neighbors’.
Their flag flapped.
Across the street, the yellow light in the church parking lot had been flickering since dusk.
A second shotgun blast flashed the sky with orange,
the frigid air fogging your breath.
The fake leather cold and cracking as we tried not to squirm on the seat,
Mother flinched and tried to start the engine.
But the freezing night had stilled it.
You flung open the door and screamed,
the brandy hot on your words.
Saying you would kill us,
you pointed the barrel and tears flooded the corners of your eyes.
You lifted the gun and fired at the cloud again.
Flecks of gold bounced off the sky
as I held in my crying.
But Paul, who wasn’t even four, began a flat wail.
At the next little house, the side door scraped open.
And Russ Flick came out onto the stoop, his flannel bathrobe open at the neck.
Flushed with pink, the stiff linoleum floor of the kitchen reflected the sound.
His fleshy wife followed and stood behind, shaking her head.
But you didn’t see them
till they shouted to put the gun away and go back to bed.
Snow flittered across the windshield.
Bits of frost flew by the flint gray metal barrel.
Flakes of delicate ice danced into your mouth,
which you opened wide
to free another scream
before aiming at the skies
and pulling the trigger.
The neighbors froze.
Mrs. Flick clutched at the fleece of her housecoat,
as the wind flurried and a faint drift scattered like flour at their feet.
After another flurry,
you faltered and stumbled back to the house
and a door closed.
And that frozen night,
flat silver bits flying,
I wondered why you were firing at the cloud.
But I was happy
that you had made it snow.
— David Dominé
Check out the original audio version in Golden Walkman Magazine.