The Unwilling Villain

by Sara Lyon

On this border

A wall juts and breaks into dead land

A soldier fires its gun.


The gun listens as the shot reverberates

And jars sharply at the expulsion

Choking on waves of acrid fumes

Enduring the miles of sun in the folds of a sour-smelling uniform


The gun wants to be a child

Harmlessly spewing cherry pits and watermelon seeds

The gun wants to be the starting pistol

Of an Olympic race

The gun wants to be a branch

Launching showers and bombs of blossom

The gun wants to be a chrysalis

and disappear after releasing a single butterfly


One by one, each bullet finds a last home, to

Lodge in flesh or rattle in unseen cavities

For an instant, the emptiness swells and rages against the metal surrounding it

A tiny glow-worm of promise change breathes in the nothingness

As it cools silently in the shade of a wall

On this border.