I’m still reading Bullets into Bells, the anthology about gun violence. It’s a remarkable collection. On Saturday we had a local town hall to follow up on the students’ march against gun violence. I realized we think about it almost entirely in terms of the mass events–but every gun death creates a circle of trauma, as this poem explores.
How My Mother Died
My father shook the gun to get the bullet out.
He was a careless man, but only once.
I shouldn’t linger on this, the road rising out of itself,
my father out on Pine Street in the dark,
down on all fours trying to open up his face
with gravel, trying to get down to the tar
of what went wrong by making blood again.
They find him there in a dream of twigs Continue reading “Monday Poem”
They are legion now, as are the bullets. This one from a moving anthology called Bullets into Bells (thoughtfully edited by Brian Clements, Alexandra Teague and Dean Rader), which combines poems with reactions from survivors of gun violence:
The Bullet, in Its Hunger
The bullet, in its hunger, craves the womb
of the body. The warm thrum there. Begs always
release from the chilly, dumb chamber.
Look at this one whose glee
of escape was outshone only by the heavens
above him. The night’s even-keeled
breath. All things thus far dreams from
his cramped bunker. But now
the world. Let me be a ravenous diamond
in it, he thinks, chewing through the milky jawbone
of this handsome seventeen-year-old. Of course
he would love to nestle amidst the brain’s
scintillating catacombs (which, only for the boy’s dumb luck,
slipped away) but this will do. The bullet does
not, as the boy goes into shock, or as his best friend
stutters, palming the fluid wound, want to know the nature
of the conflict, nor the sound of the shooter’s
mother in prayer, nor the shot child’s future harmonies:
the tracheotomy’s muffled wheeze
threaded through the pencil’s whisper as the boy scrawls I’m
the bullet, like you, simply craves
the warmth of the body. Like you, only wants
to die in someone’s arms.