Summer Between Freshman and Sophomore Years

By Auzelle Epeneter

The forest cuts off the swell of the sun

as we take the guns into the trees.

 

We pass quickly through the landscape,

traveling far into a blanket of shade.

 

“This is good,” Julian says.  “Here.”

 

I slap the sounds of insects as their humming fills my ears

and they touch against my neck.

 

“Alright,” Julian says, “Let’s do it.”

 

His cigarette stays motionless,

hanging from his mouth as he lifts his gun.

 

He squints, then shifts between his feet.

The sound blasts into my bones.

 

I echo.

 

In another moment, I raise my own rifle without aiming,

and pull until my hand disappears into the trigger.

 

From where he stands, Julian laughs

and taps the ash to the ground.

 

“You’re a city boy now,” he says.  “Can’t even fire a gun right anymore.”

 

We never see the bullets land, only the disconnected movement

of the branches as the speed makes them quiver.

 

We pause only to roll more cigarettes,

or watch the heat whirl above the branches.

 

We fire for hours.

___

Auzelle Epeneter is a native San Diegan who now lives in New York City, where she works as a fundraiser and marketer for a literary nonprofit. She is married to Jason Jones, host of “Divers Songs” on Viva Radio. She holds a degree in advertising from the University of Georgia and is currently at work on a novel.

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