My dad started out as a poet, then put those skills to work during a stint in the ad business (as I understand it, he is either wholly or in part responsible for the alliterative Brylcream slogan: “A little dab’ll do ya.”) before he ultimately wound up a novelist.

I inherited exactly none of Dad’s poetic ability, but my older son Gordon got the full dose. He wrote the following poem, “Flight of the Pellets,” while he was in high school:

Flight of the Pellets
Tiny, like little eggs
In a slide of the bolt
Thrown into waking
In the metal womb, flying
Down the steel birth canal.
No nourishment for them, just the shove and flame and stench
Of burning gases.
First flight, last flight, headed to their death
In another’s death.
Enter the berth of a heart, smash through, and destroy.
Down below, in the field of dead shriveled stalks
A tiny drop of steel rain falls to the ground.
It hits, digging its own grave
A di in the earth.

Since “Flight of the Pellets” is one of the very few poems about shotgunning in existence, it seems only natural that we should hold a shotgunning/wingshooting poetry contest in this space. The contest will be judged by a panel of F&S editors, deadline is August 1, and I will contribute a prize to the winner – one of the many new and unused waterfowling blind bags stored in my basement.