Megan Fernandes

The Poet Holds a Gun

  • The bullet is a simple, adolescent heartache.
  • When guns go off around you, you wince like a single sheet
  • and nothing in your body has ever been so simultaneous
  • not even orgasm which is more like the hungry sea
  • meeting an Aeolian beach with their sweet
  • caper storms and lemon trees. An orgasm
  • has more surface area and salt than a gun.
  • On the ride home from the range, from the first lesson,
  • I ask Alex if he wants to have a baby
  • and he explains the mathematical formula
  • for a circle tattooed across his wrist. He doesn't
  • mention that I am bad at holding a gun
  • or that I gasp every time I press
  • the trigger while my wrist flaps back like a muscle
  • from another life, or that I look like a meek captive,
  • or that he could tell, without saying
  • a word, that I was begging for him to take it
  • out of my hands. He doesn't mention the baby and it feels
  • like the small relief of passover when he gently
  • takes the gun and hits the target seven times
  • in a row, perfectly. We don't talk about
  • how we are both from the sterile MainLine
  • of Philly where the only big bookstore shut down across
  • from a milkshake shop, that we are suburban astronauts
  • who just shot at a paper plate target
  • like a white, punctured moon.
  • The poet holds a gun in the morning
  • and shakes, with the same fallen limb,
  • the knowing hand of Agnes Varda that very night
  • in New York where the faces of her film
  • beam at you in the most affectionate kind of love
  • which is love without sound or dialogue.
  • Varda is a small woman, sharp like a radiant heat
  • dressed in magenta, a ring of Saturn
  • around her head and she is telling me
  • something about my hand when she shakes it:
  • Megan, she seems to say the name that never meant
  • anything to me but who she knows
  • (and my mother knows) is very much me.
  • There is nothing here to defend and everyone is in love.
  • Here, her hand says, Megan, you do not need the gun.


Author Bio

Megan Fernandes is a poet and academic. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Tin House, Denver Quarterly, The Boston Review, The Common, Rattle, Guernica, Pank, The Adroit Journal, among many others. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College. She is the author of The Kingdom and After (Tightrope Books) and lives in NYC.