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Rifling

I loved the words, the names,
when I was a boy when
his blue eye turned me
to the muscular heft of arms,
Winchester and Remington,

the smell of gun oil and gun powder,
the thumbed-smooth feel of wood and steel,
the slick liquid clatter of lever actions,
the lovely locking in of shells in chambers,
the quick kicking out of burning brass,

then the startling blast at dawn,
the buckling and staggering,
the thrashing in the snow,
the shredded roses in the snow,
the eye, its dark lashes, flecked with snow.

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Badger born and bred, Dion Kempthorne was a linebacker on the 1963 Wisconsin Rose Bowl team. He earned a PhD in English from UW-Madison, and then taught English in the UW Colleges and served as CEO/Dean at UW-Richland.

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