Somewhere in america, a gun

torrin a. greathouse

-shot rings out, baritone from beveled throat & i am in the woods & when the birds first break from the treeline i wonder if you can count the seconds between the shot & the moment they startle their bodies skyward, become a configuration of dark lightning rising up from the earth into a cloud; wonder if because i cannot see the gun this has become again a natural thing, the slow cleave of a deer’s distant pant already resolving itself to memory, the sound babbling off of trees like heavy lodestones thrown into a stream — & still some part of me is already devoting itself to silent prayer, that all that rises from the earth around me was not made by men’s hands, does not hold within its perimeter the heave of human breath, or the many fragiled borders of a child’s body, their tin plate eyes, reflecting, remembering — & somewhere in america a gun is used for anything but moving food closer to a child’s mouth, & the silent praying part of me, knelt in the atrium of my heart, is wondering, if i do not turn on the news, if i hide from my phone’s bright & expectant face, [if i do not see the gun] then perhaps this too can be made a natural thing, an undeserving body gifted first thunder, then absence, then the slow configuration of their heart’s dark lightning arranging itself in the dirt?


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