I bought a gun.
a new state, the dirt from other landscapes
still on my toes. the land of Lincoln
and his vision but a distant echo,
I started thinking about the shape of a post-apocalypse.
my Black body is a threat to the state.
my womb supposed the site of white genocide.
my marriage labeled miscegenation.
my beautiful daughter an abomination.
the deposed masters tools
will never dismantle the masters house but
no more metaphors:
monkey see, monkey do.
I pulled rations up to the attic,
started stockpiling and locking the doors.
how much water will I need? what
catalogues of roots and seeds?—
what happens during the race war?
It’s sunday morning and polling suggests
81% of evangelicals wouldn’t acknowledge a God with
Black, Brown, or non-gender conforming skin,
or an accent,
or who prays while facing Mecca,
or who partakes in Seder.
fellow Christians have made me
agnostic on the best of days.
as intolerant as the interstate;
worn and hard as slate, a map of cracks
and construction already committed to one state.
they who haven’t been taught to fear
pack squalid thoughts and tiki torches
into the crowded camper van
with fetid air and cold beer
recite their chants
stroke their arms,
load their resentments,
fold their robes,
coach the kids
soothe their egos
with once a long time ago
misdirected misers who
glorify the hard lives of coal miner’s daughters,
and how Mammy knew her place,
and how them Bucks remembered to avert their eyes,
think Jim Crow a dream to be again realized
are free with their guns.
in my youth,
we traveled from Chicago to Shreveport, the whole night through,
too scared to rest or stop, the norm to urinate in Folgers tin coffee cans
on the side of the well worn road,
a handful of napkins clutched in my small fist
to clean down my leg the unchecked trickle of piss
rather than be at the wrong place at the wrong time
land where my Fathers died
I bought a gun.
the canary in the coal mine’s name is Black
singing the blues
You in danger girl
armed and angry White mobs bearing torches,
go goose-stepping down the city center,
flack jackets, steel-toed boots,
and all I have is my crumbling faith:
in my home,
in the humanity of the silent
neighbors surrounding me—
I listened to the radio and drank my coffee.
I looked in my daughter’s chocolate eyes.
on the local radio
every true American needs four guns
one a shotgun for home protection.
two a handgun for personal protection.
three a hunting rifle for provisions.
four a semi-automatic rifle for defending our second amendment rights.
tired of bringing hope to a gunfight, they missed the fifth:
I too sing America.
this is my heritage, not hate.
A black security guard caught a shooting suspect — only to be shot by police minutes later [Vox]
Protesters say security guard Jemel Roberson was proverbial ‘good guy with a gun’ — but was shot and killed by police, anyway [Chicago Tribune]
Angelique Zobitz has recently been published in Sugar House Review, So to Speak: a feminist journal of language + art, SWWIM, Junto Magazine and Geeky Press’ Hoosier Lit anthology. She lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.
Photograph by Tess Wilcox.