By C.T. Salazar
It is 1995 and a gunshot has big-
banged inside the courtroom where my mother
is working. I am three, and two rooms over
where everything is set to sudden motion—
carousel of over-turned chairs and falling books.
Panic, like the city of Gubbio where citizens
for months were trapped behind their gates
because of a man-eating wolf. His jury of teeth
lawless and gleaming like the stainless steel
of the revolver smuggled into the courthouse.
In my three-year-old heart fear made room
for itself for the first time. The hammer falling
like a gavel. The bullet traveled from the audience
to the wall behind the witness stand, but
not before scything through the chest of a man
pleading guilty. The courtroom gone feral:
the full moon of the mind where screams blend
to a single howl. A woman ran from the audience
to the empty-chested man still in the chair.
Head back and mouth open—face still wet
with the tears of confession. How she took him
into her arms the way Saint Francis accepted
the wolf of Gubbio into his. How she cried
the same words of the saint—O my brother of god why?