Trade-ins: Small Arms

By | 24 July 2007

And then there is the soft innocence of small arms,
the round oval of the wrist/stock, the clarity of skin/metal,
the single crease inside the elbow/trigger that tells it.

What happens to the rest of the body
when they've sold the arms?
– at eight, he asks,
after listening to us talk.

In Colombia the militia might slit the skin
of his forehead or pectoral to pack in brown-brown
– raw amphetamine – and top up this charge
with booze and ganja, so fear cannot be found
in any of the atoms left in his eight-year old head.
He'd be given orders, a machete, an M16 –
a light child-sized innocent sort of small arm,
– -ex-US Excess Defense. He would find
the answer is, once the arm is severed at the shoulder
or wrist, -short or long-sleeve as they say –
a man, a woman or a child, will live or bleed to death.

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