Monday, February 02, 2015


by Jay Sizemore

Photo of Rev. Joy M. Gonnerman. “The idea originated on a closed Facebook group for Lutheran clergy, where pastors were discussing how North Miami Beach’s police department had been caught using mugshots of actual people for target practice. Let’s send in our own photos for target practice, the pastors decided. The target-practice story had come to light after National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant saw bullet-riddled mugshots of black men at a police gun range. One photo was of Deant’s brother.” --Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, January 25, 2015

The dark silhouette of a dark silhouette
threatens you with its darkness,
asks you to draw your pistol
and find your aim,
this darkness has no name,
is not a body full of words
like “mother” or “beginning,”
is not a tributary of stars.

Before you put holes in their faces,
before you forget their most human traces,
shine a light,
see the mirror beneath the flesh,
see that every shadow is a man holding his breath,
and every target is a heart inside a chest,
and if you must practice killing
these mortal likenesses,
please, use mine instead.

Punch your fears through my brow,
fill my nostrils with blood,
the scent of burnt nitroglycerin.
Build a hallway through my skull
to carry the wheelbarrow
of everything you never learned
about everyone else in the world,
adding my smile to the stacks upon stacks
of mouths never to show their teeth again.

I am a walking bullseye,
imagine my limp carcass on the street,
imagine stepping over puddles
to keep the red off your feet,
imagine pulling a trigger
before ever speaking to me,
looking down
and seeing your own son
being covered with a sheet.

Jay Sizemore dropped out of college and sold his soul to corporate America. He still sings Ryan Adams songs in the shower. Sometimes, he writes things down. His work has appeared online and in print with magazines such as Rattle, Prick of the Spindle, DASH, Menacing Hedge, and Still: The Journal. He's never won an award. Currently, he lives in Nashville, TN, home of the death of modern music. His chapbook Father Figures is available on Amazon.