Cannonball Days


Cannonball Days



Our father was shot from a cannon

into the ocean off a pier

when he was 22

during his summer of adventure

he told us, and told us,

throughout our lives,

on certain types of nights

and every holiday.

Really? We’d ask,

each time it came up.

It seemed so strange.

Photos, there were none,

and no relatives saw the act.

Not that we didn’t trust our dad,

though mystery could be his stock in trade.

“People did things like that,

back then,” he would say.

 “A different kind of world.”

He showed us books with pictures

of people

from the ’20s engaged in these explosions.

But he was born in 1950.

And was 22 in ‘72, the summer of his claim,

when Instamatics were ubiquitous,

snapping away spontaneously,

and piers, by the way, had few cannons

shooting hungry young men

at the sea.

It was probably even illegal by then.

“Why doubt me?” he’d fire.

“What’s the goddamn point?”

(He tended to swear a blue streak.)

Isn’t the goddamn point, we’d wonder, apparent?

Since we never would trust

what we had never been shown,

a lesson taught

by a skeptical dad,

ah ha!

But our point never seemed to get through.

On his deathbed

the talk

was about those cannonball days,

since everything else

had been squared away.

Obsessed, yes we were, and selfish, maybe more,

though we held his hand while asking our questions.

We had cannonballs lodged in our hearts, after all.


 Chris Callard


Chris Callard lives in Long Beach, CA. His poems have appeared in Cadence Collective and One Sentence Poems, his short fiction in Gemini Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, A Story in 100 Words, and ZZyZxWriterZ. His flash fiction story “Blood Drive” was nominated for The Best Small Fictions.


  1. not many poems hit me like this one did. impressive and a bit sad.

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