Bullet Ghazal


When Jesus returns with his AR-15, he will stand like an assassin
in American weeds, taking aim at our ways, using love as his bullets.
Will the crowds that assemble remember their hands have agency
in a world where children’s names too often are inscribed on bullets?
It’s fear, not prayer, has brought us to our knees, mouths gagged,
flag-draped, in the rapid-fire scream of too many bullets.
Smell of sulfur all that remains, like a whiff of Satan
after the spray, the penetration and kill of too many bullets.
Faces and places flash through the mind, victims made nameless,
too many to count in the wake of our precious, revered bullets.
Day after day we attend the parade, watch from the curb
waving our flags, the continuous celebrated cascade of bullets
praised like returning heroes, raised on the shoulders of the crowd
as we count our daily dead, then bend to gather up the still-warm casings.
Might we count our blessings instead? Jesus sighs, scratches his head,
wonders if he’s come to the wrong place. Reading Psalms like a bullet list
he’s memorized, the words drop from his lips already dead. Hope surrenders
with a gun to its head. Chamber gravid with the promise of more bullets.





Al Fournier




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