When Your Father Buys a Gun

by Alejandro Derieux-Cerezo


(Erasure of  The Opposites Game  
by Brendan Constantine)   
we said   
Words and the spaces   
They’re looking at each other—   
When your father buys a gun—  
Find it stashed at the house in the cul de sac   
In the banister of the wooden stairs,  
You fell to the floor and he kicked you    
Over and over, when you were seven, or six, or five   
Eyes closed, you waited for it to end, curled   
On the boards you wish had snapped from below.   
Regardless, you find it, so you better turn off   
The safety,  
like when he would drive with no hands   
On the highway going thirty-over, speeding straight   
Through parking lots into the storefronts, stopping   
Just short, just to scare you, just for fun, just enough   
To make you grip the latch on the car door.  
Fold a butterfly to a bullet.   
Load it next to the baby teeth, the belt buckle.   
Cock the hammer back and hear it click.   
Place your finger on the trigger,  
you remember  
How the call button felt, unpressed, after the dial   
Last time he hit your brother   
How you held the phone up to his face like the barrel.   
Aim a fucking hole through the sun, then break   
The clenched fist against the body.   
When your father buys a gun, find it stashed  
In the purse where his mother kept her pistol  
When they lived in New York.  
Find it in his house ringed with white hate  
In neighboring lawns like a target.  
Hear the casing  
Fall like every syllable in his name  
The way the accents don’t land properly  
On white tongues  
The way teachers always thought his name  
Was your mother’s  
Because they didn’t know how to read it  
And it was his father’s name as well.   
My father’s name as an ode—   
Pierce the sun like cartilage and clear  
A bullet clean through it.  


About the Author:

Alejandro Derieux-Cerezo is a poet from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is currently an undergraduate studying for a BS in Physics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. His work has appeared in Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine.

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