Sep 23, 2014

Rifle

Written by Nick McRae

Read by T.J. Jarrett

The wooden parts are known as furniture,
as though a rifle were a room and the stock
a place to set a bowl and pull a chair
up to; or a bedside stand to hold a clock

that we’ll watch flashing through the afternoon
as we lie sleepless, set apart from time;
or the bed itself, from which, though our cocoon
of blankets smothers us, we will not climb.

Because we can’t. Because the bed is not
a bed at all, but a rifle, or part of one,
and not the part that kills—the bolt hand-wrought,
the barrel blued and glinting in the sun—

but rather it’s the lovely part we hold
against our cheek. Once the sap-soaked heart
of a walnut tree—now polished, stained, and cold—
it is a tool, a terror, a work of art.

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