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Poetry and Medicine
April 1, 2009

Squirt Gun

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2009;301(13):1319. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.379

Despite her bleeding heart that bopped
to the beat of Bird and Miles below
her lipstick-streaked Chesterfields,
platinum-blonded Aunt Dorothy
gave him a mega-humongous gun
for his sixth birthday, so I got its twin:
The FBI Special, endorsed by J. Edgar
himself and guaranteed to make friends
drool in desire: purple-black, feral,
two ridged handles that fit tight
inside your clenched fists: a chopper
to make any G-Man proud as a cobra.
Just squeeze, and blast the bad guys away
in a staccato of spitting bullet-spray.
When it broke eight minutes after I got it,
what else could I do but smash his.
My irate father and disappointed mother
said poor impulse control and You’ll regret this
the rest of your life. Forty-eight years later
it's still hard to hear my brother cry.

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