Skunked
By: Copper Rose

I was 15 when I left school.
They couldn't teach me to read or write.
Pa was 95 and full of cancer
when he wrote the note. I was 65
when I sawed off the shotgun for Pa.
The officer backed me up
against the wall. He waved
Pa's handwritten note
in front of my face—
This deed has got to be done
and if I can't do it
my son will take care of it.
The next day—after they cleaned
the brains off the wall
I had been up against—
I went fishing.
I tried to catch the big one
but unlike Pa, I got skunked.

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