I’ll bring you back to life. I’ll erase your name from the grave marker, letter by letter, line by line. It will come away flat and shiny and new as anything. I’ll pull the marker out of the ground, bury the granite back into the earth. It will disappear without a scar.
I’ll put your mother back in her bed at night, let her sleep without dreams of cracking guns and shattering things, let her sleep without dreams, let her sleep.
You will have family picnics with sliced watermelon and perfect little triangle sandwiches. You will have a father who laughs and a mother who sings. You will have a wife with thin arms and short hair, teeth that flash when she smiles. I’ll turn her father’s hand from her sweet face when she is young, I’ll have her grow up shining and dandelion strong.
I’ll turn the hand of the man that kills you. I’ll take the words from his mouth, all their words. You will never have to hear the things they call you and your wife, the things they say to women like you. They will never speak those things. I’ll turn him from the campground and your tent, turn him from the song you have playing on the car radio. I’ll empty the bullets from his gun, pluck the gun from his grasping straw fingers. I’ll drive him away, miles and miles away, stop him by the river in a soft, quiet place. He’ll see a deer there, lapping at the water. He’ll see the moon and the stars and the sway of leaves on the wind-bobbing branches of summer trees. The deer will lift its head when he parks beside the river, startle and leap.
He’ll think this is something beautiful.
He won’t think about the gun under his seat. There won’t be a gun under his seat. There won’t be guns like there are now, there won’t be guns and statistics and names and those fucking thoughts and prayers.
There will be moments like this instead, when you and your wife douse the dying embers of your campfire and look up at the sky together, when it is all hush and pine-needle whisper. In the soft, quiet dark, you will lean against your wife and she will lean against you and you will tell each other this is something beautiful.