Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Firearm

An imitation of "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens

Hannah Lindsay Shepherd

I.

Among twenty high school classrooms,

The only moving thing

Was the trigger of the firearm.

​II.

I was of three minds

Like a safe

In which there are three firearms.

​III.

The firearm kicked in the autumn woods.

It was a small part of the pantomime.

​IV.

A man and a woman

Are one.

A man and a woman and a firearm

Are one.

​V.

I do not know which to fear,

The weight of the firearm

Or the size of the bullet,

The boom of the shot

Or just after.

​VI.

Shells filled the long window

With defensive glass

The shadow of the firearm

Crossed it, to and fro.

The mood

Traced in the shadow

An indecipherable cause.

​VII.

Oh thin men of the city, 

Why do you imagine collection?

Do you not see how the firearms

Lay at the feet 

Of the people you love?

​VIII.

I know ammunition

And aim and concentration;

But I know, too,

That the firearm is involved

In what I know. 

​IX.

When the firearms flew out of sight,

It marked the beginning 

Of revolution.

​X.

With the sound of firearms

Mixing in concert light

Even those packing

Would cry out sharply.

​XI.

He pulled over Khalil

In a sirened car

Once, a fear pierced him,

In that he mistook 

The shadow of a hairbrush 

For a firearm.

​XII.

The firearm is firing.

People must be dying.

XIII.​

It was evening all afternoon.

It was snowing 

And it was going to snow.

The firearm sat

By the cabin door.

poetry, 2020