New Law Makes Local Poet Nervous

by Jane Vincent Taylor


Others have book fests, opera and garden expos.
We have gun shows. Ammo. Freedom
and now more freedom: open carry.

Like an old decoy I sit in my local coffee shop.
Post-holiday parents, toddlers in tow, order the special —
peppermint pancakes, dollar-size.

Megan fills the ketchup bottles.
Poinsettias wrinkle and curl. The radio plays Reba.
In walks a vested cowboy sporting a leather holster.

I react the way a gun insists: with fear. But nearer now,
I see his fancy shoulder bag
holds only oxygen,

precious sips of life — protection,
safety — openly carried, so we can all
breathe a little easier.

Jane Vincent Taylor has been teaching creative writing at Ghost Ranch, a retreat and education center in New Mexico, for the past decade or so. Her poems have appeared in This Land, Nimrod, Still Point Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her most recent book of poetry is called  The Lady Victory. Taylor lives in Oklahoma City.

Originally published in This Land, Vol. 4 Issue 3. Feb. 1, 2013.