noon gun

I live in a city where there is a single gun.

Well, actually, there are innumerable guns,
concealed, undisclosed, cocked in the darkness

But there is one,
proud, in the daylight
loud, when it sounds on schedule
as it has done
for two-hundred years
without any motive of fear.

I live in a city where there is a gun
Perched on the Hill, in plain sight
Nineteenth-century smoothbore, flush with gunpowder
more reliable than a pocket watch,
or the sun’s tenuous position,
more operatic than smoke signals
more rousing from today’s late morning slump
than canned caffeine.

Its signal cuts through sharp noon
to deliver that public rumble

Visitors to this city
jolt from their lunches
turn their gazes to the Hill
thinking it’s violence
(who can blame them, when the world’s on edge about guns).

It’s just the noon gun!
someone cries,
don’t worry about it,
it’s only sounding midday, like it’s always done.

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