Backyard Target Shooting

I’m always scared when I first point down range,
thoughts racing, imagining every grisly scenario,
“What if it misfires and blows off my hand?”
Or my face.
Deep breath in, index on trigger, deep breath out,
and BOOM!
Momentary surprise when sound
echoes through the protective earmuffs,
sudden images of backyard boys with toy rifles and
coonskin caps defending the Alamo with Shep the dog,
retreating from siege to shade until afternoon snacks of
peanut butter on vanilla wafers ride in heroically
on a white Melmac tray.

Sound and memory fade,
and I stare through yellow-tinted safety glass
at a silhouette paper martyr man brandishing a chest wound,
off center, but close enough for my one-woman firing squad.
“Not bad,” my husband says, removing Carhartt cap and
earmuffs, official regulation gear
of grown-up Davy Crocketts.
“No Annie Oakley . . . yet. . . ,” I reply proudly.
Now to convince the dog to let me shoot an
apple off his head and take this
Wild West show on the road.
He looks at me, and I know the only apple he has use for
is chopped into wedges
or baked in a pie
or topped with peanut butter
and served on a white Melmac tray.
Dog with snacks