Once, I tried to make a poem into a gun, wanted to stun the world
For a moment, wanted to feel the powerful, cold heaviness of it in my own hand –
But of course, you know, it refused. First it jammed with writer’s block,
And then it would not be cocked – in solemn protest of the overbearing masculinity
Of the word cocked. When I finally fired a shot, the racing bullet turned into
A butterfly midair – and this butterfly flitted about, and was quite long-winded,
In describing himself through a series of “I” statements, such as:
I am a Mazarine. I hail from all over this earth. I am of the family Lycaenidae.
I have almost gone extinct, but I am still here, I am still here, I am still here.
Then the gun began rejecting bullets altogether, spitting them onto the earth with the
Mind-numbing cadence of iambic pentameter, each time pretending to wretch,
Saying, prose, ugh, over and over, how can you eat this?
Finally, and with a sadness that pervaded its whole being, the gun went limp,
Lamenting that it was not born a fox, a deer, or even (between sobs) a sickly elm.
It died then and there, in my hands, using its last breath to say, I would have made a terrific fox –
Closed its eyes and became pink ice cream in a waffle cone, which quickly
And deliberately melted right through my closed hand.
Okay, I said, in its memory, that was dramatic. I covered the remains with earth,
And made a little gravestone, marked “Gun that wanted to be a fox,” and I never
Tried to make a poem into anything other than a poem again.
- Erica Skog
Erica Skog lives in Little Canada, MN with her husband, Iver. She is a graduate of Luther College and has a Master's Degree in creative writing from Hamline University. She is currently working on her first full length book of poetry.