those grinning gangsters
never seen without chains
tethered around their necks
and wrists, hold gold guns
that glisten against the clever
want to hold one?
the grip and for a moment
I get deer hunting—that transition
from boy to man or even girl
to woman, like Latonia B. who
took the life of Mikey because she
wanted to see what it was like.
In Newark, we don’t bawl
over felled fawns or ferry home
trophies—we’ve figured out
how to run without the chase
or racetrack, how to turn off
our eyes, zipper our mouths,
and lose our memories. It is always
open season and our stars
are mere exhausted streetlights.
And here, Baby D’s hand strokes
my ass then settles for my lower
back as he whispers,
to get more skin on the grip
to get rid of that sympathetic reflex
in your hands. You’ve got to hold
it tight to really see.
I place my
finger on the trigger
and shut my eyes. I pull. And I see.
How easy it is.
Sakinah Hofler is a PhD student and a Yates Fellow at the University of Cincinnati. In 2017, she won the Manchester Fiction Prize; previously she had been shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Eunoia Review, and Counterexample Poetics. A former chemical and quality engineer, she now spends her time teaching and writing fiction, screenplays, and poetry.