Kelly Nelson

Last Stop Shooting Range

You need to be eight
to shoot the Desert Eagle,
the Browning, the Barrett,
the Colt M-16. You need

to be eight to launch
a grenade before eating a burger
for lunch. You need to be eight
for the M4, the M60, the AK-47.

And she was nine.
Ears protected. Eyes protected.
Parents nearby. One leg in front
of the other, pink shorts and a ponytail,
hands clutching the grip.

“All right,” he said
when she fired her first shot,
red puff of Mojave dust
rising from the knoll.
“All right,” he said,
shifting the Uzi to fully automatic.

Kelly Nelson is the author of the chapbook Rivers I Don’t Live By (Concrete Wolf, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in Boktor, Sequestrum, NonBinary Review, I-70 Review and elsewhere. She has lived without a car in metro Phoenix for the past 15 years and is editing an anthology of car-free poems. She teaches Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University.

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