Poetry June 2007

Bullet

Hear the author read this poem

It was like a really heavy seed, so I thought, Plant it.
No soil, so I swallowed it.

How to make it not the thrown stone, not the grape of wrath.
Make it not the animal’s eye gleaming at the attack.

Think tuft of cotton, not glint of cobalt.
A bluebell in my woods near moss.

There will be a loud report.
No. There will be snow falling on the shrub.

It was a heart and I its house, and I opened my door and it went out.
Small button on a blouse, then buckle of a belt.

But there was its pulse.
The tip of a jackhammer, tongue of an alarm.

I sang along.
I looked right in the mother’s gleaming eye.

It’s innocent, I said. Innocent.
Small ball.

No. I swear when my fingers unfurled, I held—a silver jonquil.
Maybe I mothered when I should have fathered.

Maybe a seed not for the start but for the end.
There was a small ball in the boy’s fist. And a voice in his ear, Throw it.

Presented by

Darcie Dennigan's first collection, The NEW Mothers, will be published next spring. She lives in Los Angeles.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In