Finally he spoke. “Which one of you is David?”
Jim looked at me and I looked at Jim, like a pair
of outfielders who let an easy fly ball drop
between them. Finally I spoke: “Give me the gun.”
“Give him the gun,” Jim said, trying to sound
as calm as the ship in the painting that had somewhere
to get to, as we did not. A ball falls somewhere
and Jim goes in one direction, while in the other David
scurries, as the tying run scores, the sound
of exultant cheering fills the stadium, and the hapless pair
are traded to the American League. “Give him the gun,”
Jim repeated. The man’s hands were shaking. "Drop
it." And he did. Poetry had rendered the gun harmless as a drop
of rain on the outfield grass in a dream sestina. Somewhere
a bell rings, and a little boy playing with his father’s gun
goes off looking for the nearest Goliath, emulating David.
The masked man conceded the pot to Jim, holder of a pair
of aces. Finally he spoke: “What’s that sound?”
“I didn’t hear anything,” Jim said. “What sound?”
In the fog you couldn’t see the moon drop
like a ball of light. We cuffed the masked man. A pair
of jacks trumps deuces but loses to a flush, and somewhere
a betting man gets ready to put in all his chips. David
clapped Jim on the back. “I knew you’d get the gun.”
Finally he spoke: “We’re Yanks. Every man his own gun.
We have reviewed our financial portfolios and they’re sound.
We have hired Jim to be bartender and David
to be bouncer at the sestina bar, where you can drop
a hundred bucks on a hand or a line. Welcome to somewhere
else I have never traveled.” The people cheered. What a pair
of jokers, one girl said, and everyone laughed. The appear-
ance of David and Jim at this climactic moment, guns
in hand, struck many as too good to be true. Somewhere
they had never traveled past lighthouses on Long Island Sound
where in a chilled glass of gin you can taste the single drop
of vermouth, and Jim writes sestinas about his exploits with David.
David turned to Jim. “What have you got?” “Pair
of queens.” “How did we get that guy to drop the gun?”
Somewhere you could hear a cheer, an echo without a sound.