Just despair, pointed at the dull,
smoky sky, the flooded tent city,
the camera’s reptile eye. Have you ever
held a gun? They’re heavier than they look,
designed to fit in your palm like
a plum or a child’s hand. On the news
a woman’s claws tap the finish.
A man howls. He’s just asking
questions. The narrative dissolves
into four squares, each filled with
a face, each head shaking. If you’ve held
a gun you know the human urge to point
it in the wrong direction. The urge to turn
your car full of Christmas presents
into oncoming traffic. You can catch
it, you can laugh about it later. Funny thoughts
I’m having. On the news, a story develops
like a Polaroid image – fuzzy, just the dark
edges. Somebody’s wrestling a stranger
by the river. They’ve been holding each
other like lovers all night. Now, it’s nearly
daybreak. It’s impossible to tell if anyone
is winning. If anyone’s overcome.

Letitia Trent‘s work has been most recently published in Diagram, Waxwing, and Smartish Pace. She has published two full-length poetry collections, including her most recent, Match Cut. Her novel Summer Girls will be available in 2024. Trent lives in a haunted Ozark town with her family and works in the mental health field. She writes reviews, essays, and journal entries at https://www.patreon.com/LetitiaTrent