I believed I knew the contents
of the firing chamber, knew
the sear surface and hammer materials,
until one day at the zoo,
as I leaned on a railing watching the gibbons balletic,
I saw in the acrylic panel enclosing the cage
my own reflection, an unarticulated skeleton in a specimen jar.
As snow fell in late afternoon,
and with regard to the color crimson,
I considered how snow and crimson sometimes left me distressed by the sound
of my own shattery breath,
a guilty verdict on the radio while driving
to my parent’s house made me feel
like slapping myself.
I really can’t say
if my index finger is required
to actuate a firing sequence,
or my thumb to activate the cocking machinery,
but while swimming laps at the Y,
the pale skin of the old man in the next lane wearing a blue bathing cap
provoked an encounter with solitude,
bringing tears that pooled in my goggles.
On a couch
at the end of the hospital corridor,
watching the night custodian buff the linoleum
aroused a trumpeting angel beast.
as I urinated in the bathroom of my favorite bar
while they were playing “Rap God,” which I love,
I was consumed by loneliness, and then, later, strange purification.
I don’t know anything
about the safety or logic
of the trigger mechanism,
nor can I say with any certainty
how easy or difficult to release