The Gun

Kaveh Akbar


I don't want bullets
in my poems so I'll say

the gun under my mattress
was a toy I'll say it was

a performance of fitness
I was desperate a gasping

catfish the gun was a game
I couldn't play I was

missing pieces so
now I'm saved so what

a moment's inattention
could still send me straight

back into god's sun-
dress I just want to be

liked want to strike sadness
from the record it's almost

mercenary stand by while
I mumble myself

earnest while I quote poorly
from the Shahnameh all 

men must die it is vain 
to mourn the man I hoped

to become burned alive in
a barrel of oil he left

me with this procession
of pronouns I live because

what else is there his
ash my pulse our grief