By Kate Belew
I hesitate bipolar. Just outside its whiplash pendulum,
hunting knife on wrist to head out the window howling at the moon, whole.
Was I hunted or the hunter? The fox inside
myself? Or just trying to kill a ribcage Vixen? She claws
those bones. I have this bear trap on my foot.
It doesn’t discriminate by body shape. But then I reached
in my jaws and found bear teeth, gnashing. Looked in the mirror
to see only fear. If I really wanted to leave enough, I would, which puzzles me.
Thought lying facedown in a rainstorm would be enough. I bring my head up
from the mud to find only a lack of self-control. There are so many things I wish
I could take back as my own. Thin folds of skin, more fingers than ten.
Canine incisors from my past stole my smoothness like spoons with teeth. Saw my wild
carved out and shuddered. There are so many selves that I can’t seem to stay one.
I would swallow the ocean if I could, if it wasn’t already in my body somewhere.
If I wasn’t already either hitting my head against the wall,
M16a4 Service Rifle
-Order of Operations
Firing, Unlocking, Extracting, Ejecting, Cocking, Feeding, Chambering, Locking[Charging Handle]
We fire our way up. To the bottom
of mattress love, of bullet lips,
and my hips, and his eyes,
and his eyelashes.
Charge me up, buttercup.[Forward Assist]
Grab hands and pull, calloused
from one too many shots
of automatic fire. Let me take
a shot at him. And we laugh, and we
laugh, and we laugh, but his eyes are different.[Pistol Grip]
Hair on my scalp stands on end
by the force of his hands, makes
me look him in the eye, and then unlocks
his grip. Who can hold on tighter
to the other’s skin? Doesn’t mean
he won’t leave.[Fire Selection Lever]
Semi-automatic. Sweet and sticky
like syrup. French toast, French kiss me.
I mess up his sheets.
What’s the difference right now? It’s all sweet
like powdered sugar, and dangerous.[Compensator]
Pause and then dive in, drown
in jungles of Vietnam, sands of Iraq.
Assault rifle he assaults me well.
Steel, alloy, his steely hands know me,
and I steel myself for the fall.[Brass Deflector]
High velocity impact like nails around
my soft waist. Soft feathers on air
flew out of the pillow like rapid fire
that sears the air with its honesty.
He deflects my questions
about him losing sleep.[Chamber]
Inhumane damage would make
me unable to love somebody
else the same way I love him. Broken
the way a bone is. He breaks me beautifully,
and I ask for seconds.[Buffer]
Barrel of the gun to my temple,
I’ll do anything for him. So hot
like no sex after seven months.
So hot like the smoking gun of nighttime.[Buffer Spring]
Recoil from the kickback.
Love is two sided, looked
at from behind or in front of the muzzle.
We both have things to lose in the aftermath[Magazine Well]
Devastating love, doesn’t
like it when I touch him when he sleeps.
I bite at his skin, and sing AC/DC.
He dreams of losing his rifle.[Bolt]
Because, I don’t take no for an answer.
Bold, I was raised well. Strong one
with his shoulders like thick branches
from a tree, hold me up and hide
me from our tangled questions.[RCO]
Impeccable aim. No where to hide
from the snipers of unrequited love.
I was quiet when I shouldn’t have been,
and I screamed when his parents were downstairs.
I couldn’t help it. It felt good.[Rail System]
Spring and recoil.
Hot enough to melt flesh. So, do it.
I dare him. Bruise my ribs with gun
hands. M-16 loving is for the brave.[Front Site Assembly]
Enhanced grip, better than other
weapons. Sex always wins,
and sex always sells. The hot commodity
for the holidays this year.
I just want him to come home
for Christmas.[Bayonet Stud]
Piercing tongues, piercing bullets.
Piercing firecrackers on the Fourth.
that makes him flinch, and then fuck
fuck, fuck this night time, cold for July.[Bolt Release]
Swan necks fragile.
Weaponry of the tongue.
He whispers dust into my ear.
Moan in return. Everything to dust
is what I want.[Magazine Release]
Firepower is what they don’t understand,
like music to our ears. The way to come
home. Fall asleep too early. Six am, kiss
my shoulders while sunlight shows
the dust in the air, a soon empty room.[Upper Receiver]
Biting lips is sexy. Good-bye sex is sexy.
Airports, they aren’t sexy. Tears
in fucked up hair isn’t sexy. Glances linger
in the air like gas fumes.
Don’t forget your gun, son.[Trigger Guard]
Hands right here and we forget it.
Chamber our thoughts.
Stand under summer trees, somewhere
else. Lay me down in a field and it’s hips on hips.
We dip together out of sight. Kiss my memory.
Sigh. I’ll stay here even when he leaves.[Trigger]
I’ll mess with my memories tomorrow.
forget about last night today, doesn’t matter
what the countdown is. I can almost count
the days left on my empty hands.
Hands on the trigger.
When he kisses me. He doesn’t miss.
I used to be like Greta Garbo and now I’m not.
Lost my flair for acting and I got hooked off
stage. When Greta talks and she says “Gimme a whiskey,
ginger ale on the side, and don’t be stingy, baby.”
Then what do I say? I never had the knack for memorizing
my lines. Getting cues. I say god damn, give me back the stuff
under my fingernails and my tequila bottle
full of flowers. They make me happy. My voice is gone,
swallowed by black and white film. It’s harder to write
than to smile, audibly. I turned the noise off on the cable
box of my brain. If I have to make a deal
with the devil of fame, it wouldn’t be for this, no.
It would be for silence and make up remover.
Though I hate to ruin Flapper girl style, pseudo independence.
I can’t apologize for my curves. At what point are we the same
again for entertainment purposes? At what point do we take
it too far in combining ourselves?
Hey Greta, I’ll have one of those too. One of those
whiskey and ginger ales, I’ll have some alone time, I’ll have one
of those wasted lives on the side. I’ll fake a legend’s smile
for one of those wasted lives, hold the Hollywood dream.
Hold whoever keeps that hook threatening at the end of the stage
like a weapon, curved end like a shepherd, like death coming
to collect. Hold them, hold them, hold them,
and then let them go.