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Friday, July 13, 2018


by Austin Davis

On Monday, police said [Matthew] Edwards shot and killed his wife and their three children — Jacob, 6; Brinley, 4; and Paxton, 3—before turning the gun on himself. The family instantly became five of the 1,200-some people killed that way each year in the United States. —delaware online, July 12, 2018

House Republican appropriators Wednesday rejected a proposal to designate millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for gun violence research, voting 32-20 to keep the language out of a fiscal 2019 spending bill. —Politico, July 11, 2018


I realized that poems nowadays
are measured by the lull between bullets
instead of a lover’s heartbeat
after I got my haircut at Supercuts
by a woman with a Pink Lady Handgun
staring me down from her hip.
The woman looked as if
she’d been attacked on her way to work
by the bubblegum monster
I used to draw on all my math homework
but she had a smile on her face,
something that was missing from me.

my husband makes me take it
with me wherever I go
and at first I was against it
but then I got used to it
and now I feel SOOOOOO
safe and protected
and are you okay
because you look a little bit like
a skydiver wearing a paper parachute
who just noticed
he was a foot from the ground.


Well, last year I had a vase
thrown at my head in Greer, Arizona
after I told a white man in white pants
that he was cleaning his assault rifle
as if it was a porcelain doll
because he felt naked without it,
not because of his OCD.
I told him that keeping
his bullets in a different room
could never stop them from crawling
under his pillow every night

and if I wasn’t holding his gun right then,
the man would have shot me
and ended my life right there.
One moment would have shattered
into a million, but instead,
there was a silence
deeper than any grave.

The crickets outside
went back to their small talk,
the trees held back their laughter,
and the scared old man
cried with his head on my shoulder
until morning.


During March for Our Lives
almost a month ago
I watched Donald T***p
ride his motorcycle
to his Palm Beach Golf Course
and complain about
those young, idiot protesters
over a little wine and cheese
when just four years ago,
T***p had accused Obama
of “playing golf on the job.”


If saving 600 women
from being killed every year
because their insecure boyfriends
are overcompensating
isn’t “part of the job,”
then I think we need to change
T***p’s job description
from ‘President’ to ‘orange cement.’

If standing between 2,555 children
and the bullet their fathers
forgot was in the rifle
isn’t “part of the job,”
then I think someone better add
“20% chance of death”
to the weather forecast
on the school announcements
every morning.

If preventing 13,000 homicides
and giving more than 35,000
Americans another day
to tell their girlfriends and boyfriends,
wives and husbands, sisters and brothers,
and mothers and fathers
that they love them
isn’t “part of the job,”
then I think we’re just letting
those who are malnourished of power
but are the least suited to hold it
trade our human flesh for metal.

Austin Davis is a poet, writer, and spoken word artist from Mesa, Arizona. Austin's poetry has been widely published in literary journals and magazines, both in print and online. Most recently, Austin's work can be found in Pif Magazine, Ink in Thirds, Folded Word, The Poetry Shed, In Between Hangovers, One Sentence Poems, and Tuck Magazine. Austin’s first chapbook The Moon and Her Ocean was published in 2017 by Fowlpox Press. Cloudy Days, Still Nights, Austin’s first full length book of poetry, was published in May, 2018 by Moran Press.