My grandfather asks
if we have our
ear muffs on.
“What?” we say
lifting a red foam
cup from one ear.
It’s important to stay protected out here
where the sun and the snakes
are as dangerous as stray bullets;
but, this, too, is a playground,
a world born in the absence of words
that is not silent,
that cries out
in swarms from the cactus and mesquite.

We prowl this cracked,
white earth, like pirates
waiting for the sun to reveal
its tiny golden treasures.
Everywhere we must maneuver
land mines, mysterious mounds
left by the night walking cows.

We fill our bags with bullet shells,
like collecting Easter eggs
warmed by the sun.
We know to leave the
shot gun shells,
red plastic hell,
and the dainty 22s,
which grandpa says
aren’t good for anything.

On this earth,
we are quick
and accurate marksmen.

RANGE by: Amy Larrabee