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Instructions for Operating a Firearm, Written for a Child

in Gun Violence/U.S. by

The clip is not a chip clip
or hair clip like the butterfly
in your bangs but a holder
for little missiles that fly very
fast from this hole here
called a barrel but not like
of monkeys or of fun these
guys take off their shiny
jackets & spin so hard they
pass through almost anything
so we don’t point the hole
at Mrs. Cole or Becky or
Javier or mom this lever
is called a safety this comma
is a trigger & the comma
won’t click until you flick
the safety switch so we
leave it alone unless we’re
pointing at a man’s pop
pop pop for making bodies
weep red remember
the boom is worse than
thunder but don’t cower
& we never peer down
the hole there’s no horseplay
you sign out your lender
from the principal & keep it
in your desk next to
pencil case, protractor,
& all the rest.

 


READ MORE

Trump renews call to arm teachers, Trump tells governors the NRA is ‘on our side’ [NPR]
A big question in the debate about arming teachers: What about racial bias? [Washington Post]


Sonia Greenfield was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, and her book, Boy with a Halo at the Farmer’s Market, won the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the 2010 and 2018 Best American Poetry, Antioch Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, and Willow Springs, among others. Her chapbook, American Parable, won the 2017 Autumn House Press/Coal Hill Review prize and is forthcoming in March of 2018. She lives with her husband and son in Hollywood where she edits the Rise Up Review and co-directs the Southern California Poetry Festival.

Photo by Christian Langballe.