The National Poetry Review

Sandy Longhorn

FEAR SONG

A bullet is made to marry
a body – knows nothing
of paper or fur or skin,
knows only to punch a hole

through the sighted target.
A bullet knows nothing,
but the boy’s fingers know
the weight of it, less than

the weight of a bird, window-
stunned, cupped in the palm.
The bullet is clean, pristine
against his smooth skin.

He has named it from a list
written on his wrist, brings
it to his chapped lips for a kiss
before he loads the christened

thing into a double-stack magazine.
A cascade of bullets packed
knows nothing of the hunter’s map.
Each waits for the trigger’s call

as the boy approaches the next girl.
The bullet moves too fast to see
her head turn in response to the way
the boy calls out her name.

As it must, this bullet marries
the body, but a bullet is nothing
like a seed. Nothing but a wet red
germinates and blooms in its wake.


SANDY LONGHORN is the 2016 recipient of the Porter Fund Literary Prize and the author of three books of poetry. The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, her latest book, won the 2014 Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press. Her other books are The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths and Blood Almanac. Her poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, diode, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, The Southeast Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and in many more literary journals and anthologies. Longhorn teaches in the Arkansas Writers MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas, where she directs the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference. In addition, she blogs at Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty.

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