What He Left
By Charlie Bondhus
I know it's broken,
but the cool, dark potential still unnerves me.
Many things are wrong:
something (the bullets?) rattling
like coins in a jar, the bright silver firing pin
snapped like a link in an old rosary.
Its black weight makes my hands
crinkle, two leaves flaking apart;
the only way I can hold a thing so potent
is with the knowledge that the moving parts
It's always been this way,
loving chrome-cut men,
so solid there's not a hollow space to accommodate
the rising contractions of the heart.
You showed it to me one day,
explained hammers, pins, and primer;
cartridges and sparks, mechanical energy
and chemical reactions, you said
firing a gun is a little like writing fiction;
there's an initiating action,
a chain of events, the moment of crisis,
and then the falling tension,
the irrevocable resolution, but,
I know ours is not that kind of story.
No climax: you simply packed
what was useful and indisputably yours,
leaving me everything that might have been
ours, so why abandon this broken, deadly bit
of memory you carried
Hard and cold as canteen water,
a memento of more than one desert,
I cradle it as though it were your heart.
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