restricted access from “In the Gun Cabinet”
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from “In the Gun Cabinet”

In the gun cabineta closet

where I drafted another maker

the hand of mthe drivel

in a Quonset, on a fieldthat Saint Bernard named Hoss chased our church group to a    frozen pond

a bridge he slipped from, breaking the icethe glass I wake under, pricked

blue veil, white dress, red lips

they call my namethey cry it

they lean in and whisper you first

& like the christened, I’m wetthere’s blood & water on the walls

the white duvet stripped from the mattress, the floor’s half    mandorla, me opposite, curled

like an infant, an insectsucking a breast

her finger inside me, a circle [End Page 129] then a man comeswhite hair

black clothes, black eyes

trumpets a foghorn he throws me down a palm full of bird’s    eye a crown full of burl a fall-boy a fountain a prod

the light sweeps            through the stained glass        in vectors                through the gun cabinet    pools of color            over wood grain

the open cabinetI wake in [End Page 130]

There’s a violence here

that folds     youtwo roads


in the countryunder a poplar tree

in the evening

(in the gun cabinet, evening)over the power lines

slack / a fence missing picketsthe house now boarded

built on contract by migrantsstalking the harvest north

every summer

I was born, beauty endedmy appetite for destruction

cock out / tongue flutteringunder the pantry as it emptied [End Page 131]

Mike Lala

Mike Lala is the author of the chapbooks [fire!] and Under the Westward Night, and has poems appearing in Boston Review, Fence, the Brooklyn Rail, Diagram, Artifice, the Awl, and more. He’s co-founder of Fireside Follies, poetry editor of Washington Square, and a Veterans Writing Workshop Fellow at nyu. More at