No Tell

There is a gun implied in every
memory. What was it mother told me—

that Father would’ve blown 
himself apart, highball rattling in his 

calloused fingers. She once came home 
late and He, splayed deep in a blackout, 
had a cocked rifle set crooked between 

his legs; trust me, she says, it’s better. 
He never knew the true trouble, paralyzed
as we were, by the threat of sound, shots 

made somewhere behind us and the deafening 
silence of the afterward, straining for clues. 

Then Father saunters in on soft loafers, 
hands empty, says, Where is she.

Our eyes, like broken frames teetering
with weight, as the photographs slip out.

SARAH PAPE teaches English and works as the Managing Editor of Watershed Review at California State University, Chico. Her poetry and prose has recently been published in The California Prose Directory, California Northern, The Superstition Review, The Southeast Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Cadence of Hooves: A Celebration of Horses. Her chapbook, Road Z, was published by Yarroway Mountain Press. Committed to community arts and literary collaboration, she is on the board of the 1078 Gallery and leads creative writing workshops.