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O To Be a Semiautomatic Weapon

Marie McGrath

Imagine me: fearsome, protected,
my skull a clean and empty chamber,
not a single thought or care,
waiting with complete metallic
neutrality for a cartridge. Watch me
move through the streets in the arms
of whoever loves me with no fear of who
might see, watch me, gorgeous, on TV,
online, my matte black polymer body
splashed across every page and screen,
leaving nothing I can do to the imagination;
I’d be fucking famous

especially with the men! Imagine
the masses of men and boys, pink
rising in their mostly-white cheeks,
standing up from their ergonomic desk chairs
and leather sectionals and from
the seats of their six figure rides
or their trucks, from benches and bus seats—honestly,
it matters little where they come from
when you know in your bones
they’re coming—rabid, with fire in their eyes,
ready to take to the streets to fight for me,
at last.

O, to have just one eye
trained on the carnage,
to feel nothing. To be the kind of property
they care about, to have not a thing
inside you to push out, screaming
into the burning world
but bullet after golden bullet.
O my steaming muzzle, my
hairpin trigger, to live forever,
and as blamelessly in the quiet as in the blast.

Marie McGrath (she/her) is a poet from Miami. She earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of Florida. Her poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Subtropics, Scrivener Creative Review, and others. When not writing, she runs a non-profit and co-hosts the podcast Spare Time. She lives in Washington, D.C with her girlfriend and their two tiny cats. For more from Marie, visit