My Father’s Gun
My father's pistol lived in a metal box,
in the bottom of the wardrobe,
hidden from the children
beside the Christmas presents
in my favourite hiding place.
I loved that dark cave of musty smells and mothballs
on the borders of Narnia,
but mostly I loved the gun:
its weight that I could barely lift,
the blue-steel of its barrel,
the smell of its oil,
the roll of its name on my tongue
With that gun I shot countless burglars,
and once, in an ecstasy of expectation,
we took it into a field and killed
a rotting tree stump.
For days afterwards my ears rang
and the bad guys exploded like dead wood.
Then one day the wardrobe contained
only lifeless clothes.
For an age I wondered if my father was a spy
who had to kill an enemy agent,
or if someone had stolen the gun
to return and murder us all.
How would I protect everyone?
Eventually, I asked my mother,
“That old thing, your father sold it
I never liked having it around.”
So I went back to plastic guns,
but I knew I would never again
stand a chance
against the bad guys.