Trigger Warning

Trigger Warnings

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,

how hearing

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. 

Another evening,

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 

the hammer.