You keep a rifle in your closet

Published by Gauge Magazine.

You keep a rifle in your closet
Amidst all the skeletons, it’s in a box.
You said you wanted to go hunting with me;
I’ve never shot a bullet,

But I never deny my God.
How a man treats animals is always how
He treats a lover, and you shoot for game,
Butcher the meat and feed it all to me.

I’ve become a vegetarian now, now
There is a grizzly in plain sight.
You’ll treat this bear to a round, at a bar,
Slip her something and have your way behind the dumpster;

While I sneak to my alcove under the pine
And shed all my skin in favor of fur.
She reminded me of childhood, believing herself safe
In her own home. I told you to spare the bear:

But you did no such thing.
You cocked and aimed and shot—
Who knew you had this bone in you:
Did you steal it, from one of your closeted cadavers?

Later you would say it was a perfect opportunity.
Even later you’d say I was overreacting
Too much to handle, as if I were your bloodhound pup
Who just wouldn’t shut up, and scared off your quarry.

I thought then I would shoot you.
Hunt you down, let you see
How it feels to be prey. May as well
Kill every man I come across while I’m at it.

I’ll set you on a meat hook
Coat with hot salt to tenderize your tough heart.
Do you now regret what you did
Pompey, and I as your apprentice.

I don’t fret over roadkill as
I don’t fall in love: I ascend overtop
And conquer. Rise so high
To your zen heaven and find I’m not there.

No worries, I’m perfectly fine with that:
I’d rather be in Hell anyway.
Because if Hell doesn’t have you
It’ll be Heaven.

painting: “The Wounded Deer,” Frida Kahlo (1946)


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