The Doctor said he suffered
from Civil War. Personally,
my dad thought it was just normal life.  

In his head, the soldiers
of every bright idea retired
to a couch to whittle
their automatic rifles.

I remember finding, many years
ago. Some paperwork
from a psych eval by the VA
where he admitted to wanting
to hurt the people around him.
Your family? It said, He checked YES.  

In an honest world, the warriors
we create would be deprogrammed
the way we reset old laptops
to some pristine, empty condition
and give them to the young.  

But we treat these people like poison
territory, and refuse to dwell in their presence.
Like local drinking water, we turn our nose
and decline. They stand, knowingly, at ease.  

It didn’t surprise me. When I read it.
I wanted to hurt him too.
Many years later, I wanted to hurt him
again. Debated punching my father
in the face. On Christmas eve.
While he stared at me, daring me.
30 years separated us. I could have
killed him.  

After he died, I cleaned
his truck. Three handguns
and about 140 rounds.  

He had not fired a shot
in 10 years but was fearful
of the idea of having to admit
he ever made a mistake.  

I have made many, many mistakes.
He is at least a hundred of them.