In appropriately spare language, Temple Cone writes of the things we tacitly accept when we add guns to our lives.
The Handgun Rules
Face facts: you touch it, you’re ready to kill.
Talk all you want about the sensuous
gleam of barrel, diamond-notched pommel,
or icy balance gathering in your wrists,
there’s nothing staving off nothingness
save an eyelash trigger. The gun’s a guard
against, as well as a fulcrum of, force.
You’d best keep it, like your own head, bowed.
Oh, there may come a night, door picked open,
your sleeping wife and child under threat,
when some rough angel says you must end
another man’s life, but know this: the debt
of lovingkindness you run up must be paid
with zeroes in the bone that never fade.
First published in No Loneliness by Temple Cone (Future Cycle Press, 2009)
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