Ever have a gun aimed at you?
I did, once, after an art gallery
poetry reading, of all places.

My aunt, visiting Baltimore
to hear her darling nephew,
stepped outside to breathe
the cool, early autumn,
after my hot air presentation—
when she was approached by a guy
who brandished what looked like a .38,
after all the cop shows I’d watched,
and yanked her handbag off her shoulder.

I gave chase, Aunt Roz screaming
for me to forget it, but I pounded
after him, until he stopped, pivoted
and pointed, to send me flying
face down onto the pavement,
as if crawling under barbed wire
in basic training, live ammunition
rat-a-tatting all around me.

My aunt’s handbag, cash,
and credit card-filled wallet?
She never got them back,
but at least no one was killed,
and I didn’t piss myself
at that small cylinder of steel
that suddenly looked like a cannon:

the mugger desperate for a quick score.
The gun? More prop than weapon.
At least I’d like to think so.

Robert Cooperman’s latest collection is GO PLAY OUTSIDE (Apprentice House). Forthcoming from Kelsay Books is A NIGHTMARE ON HORSEBACK.