Here, Bullet

If a body is what you want
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta’s opened valves, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.

– Brian Turner

Submitted by:

Arvind, who had to remind me to run this more than once, and in so doing made me start posting again. Thanks, Arvind.


This poem’s stark, visceral imagery (pun unintended) really grabbed me. It made me think of a couple of other poems I love – Naming of Parts, and The Woman Who Could Not Live With Her Faulty Heart.
Brian Turner follows in the fine steps of war poets Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke and Edward Thomas. Here is a well written discussion of Turner’s first collection, and a take on war poetry as a genre.
You can see and hear him reading the poem here, courtesy of From the Fishhouse, a fabulous audio archive of poetry.

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