At the proper angle, the nipple of the bottle
nestles in the baby’s mouth so the 18-year-old
mom can talk on the phone while holding
a shotgun in one hand and a pistol in the other,
effectively positioning herself against attack.
Just last week the baby’s 58-year-old daddy
died of cancer on Christmas. Around here,
Santa slings a skinny sack over his shoulder
if he shimmies down the chimney at all.
Now, it’s New Year’s Eve, and two men stalk
the trailer home for her late husband’s painkillers.
Having barricaded the door with the couch,
she keeps the 911 operator on the end of the line
for twenty minutes until the one with the hunting
knife finally busts through. Not once does
the operator discourage the mom from what
she’s called to ask if she can do; at close range
a 12-gauge’s blast collapses any man’s chest.
Days later the other intruder turns himself in.
The baby’s ears ring. The new year begins.
About Kevin: Kevin Stoy’s poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, 42opus, and Boxcar Poetry Review, among others. He has most recently read from his work at the 2012 Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C. and the War, Literature and the Arts Conference at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He earned his MFA from George Mason University, where he currently works in the University’s Honors College.