The Mystery of A Gun

For We Write Poems Poetry Prompt 200: Young Mysteries, we were asked to use this title

Divided Heart

The Mystery of A Gun

Until last summer we never spoke
of it. Sixty years of silence kept
between six people.

Reverberation of the shotgun blast
in small, long ago kitchen, still
thundered through our shared blood stream.

Metal breadbox fatally pierced with burnt black
pellet holes, where only moments before
at least three of us were standing.

Father’s voice shaky with shock, “But…
I always clean it, remove the shells,
after hunting season…How?…”

Miracle of no one hurt, no one harmed.
Miracle of sixty year silence, silently
agreed upon in that far away moment.

Until last summer, when we surviving siblings
finally spoke in subdued tones, almost whispers,
still driven by thundering silent need to protect him.

Elizabeth Crawford  2/13/14

Notes: True story. Father cleaning gun at kitchen table (usually done in back shed), in preparation for annual deer hunting season. The entire family gathered in that small space, preparing for dinner when the gun went off. The incident was never spoken of afterward, until last summer when we three siblings were together driving to the fourth sibling’s home for an over-night visit. When asked, by accompanying spouses, why they had never heard about it, I offered the only answer I could think of, that we never wanted anyone to think our father could be so careless or foolish. The conversation ended there. The image is a digital painting, one of my very early ones, titled Divided Heart. And yes, there is music. It came quickly, as I finished writing. Another brought by my musical prophet as she told me it always reminds her of my stories about my dad because her own story is so very different. It can be found here:


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
This entry was posted in The Mystery of A Gun and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Mystery of A Gun

  1. Misky says:

    Very scary, Elizabeth.



  2. I feel for your father. It was really nice of you all not to talk about it. Your poem has condensed a lot of emotion in those few lines. Whew!!


  3. Irene says:

    Wow, Elizabeth.


  4. Wow, your father must have been so shocked and horrified. So good no one was hurt. I’ll bet he cleaned it in the shed after that all the time.


  5. annell4 says:

    What a wonderful story!


  6. rosross says:

    Ah yes, I can relate to this. When I was growing up in Australia in the fifties it was still not uncommon for men in poorer families to go out shooting rabbits and kangaroos. They sold the skins and we ate the meat. Well, some of the roo meat went for pet food but we always had the tail as soup. The rabbits we ate the lot.

    Anyway, my dad and uncles had ,.202 rifles for hunting and my father was always very careful, and I think my uncles were mostly. But we were visiting an uncle one time and he was showing dad his gun, might have been new, and four of us kids were sitting on the bed, I was about four and one cousin the same, my brother five and another cousin the same and bang…..

    the gun went off. He also thought it was empty. The bullet went through my brother’s foot. They rushed him to hospital. It could have been much, much, much worse.

    I have always hated guns anyway. My father was often an angry man, drink did not help, and I was terrified as a child he would shoot us. As an adult I knew his anger was not that sort of anger but as a child all one knows is anger and how deadly guns can be.


  7. First of all, your music prophet is AMAZING. I lost my father over twenty years ago and even though he certainly had his shortcomings and caused me pain, I still miss him. And I think of him when I hear Tori’s song.

    I kept a lot of my father’s faults secret as well. Perhaps I should not have. Maybe I would have done his memory better justice by not doing so. We are all fallible, imperfect human beings. The mystery in your poem’s gun is, indeed, the fact that no one was hurt, thank God.



  8. WOW, what a story. I got chill bumps thinking about it.


  9. I love your digital painting…at first look I thought it was part of the cosmos…depiction of a fragmented heart is so befitting. Beautiful.

    Your story is given so vividly and your process notes bring such emotion for me…I can really relate. Your poem brings the depth of family closeness that you all hold…it’s tangible and draws one deeper into the dynamics of the work.

    Wonderful music accompaniment…one of my most favorite voices out there.

    Thank you, Elizabeth!



  10. poetryshack says:

    Wow, gladly no one was hurt!
    Enjoyed the “thundering silence” expression. Interesting it was an unspoken understanding between family members.


  11. ms pie says:

    hmmm… im still here in sort of a stunned silence seeing the sound and blast… yes, spoken words do have power..!!!! …. where one is stunned into silence…. so sorry i cannot hear the music… no plugs… and the power of love…. sigh, simply beautiful and powerful in its unfolding over time….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s