Brushfire Wars
By Melissa Newman-Evans

for the one hundred thousand people who joined the NRA after the events at Sandy Hook

The sharpshooter told you,
                                            You were born from the barrel of a gun.
Now there is a crime being committed
                                            somewhere else with your name on it.
know you need to believe
                                            this is necessary, so let me tell you:
This is necessary. Anything
                                            can be weaponized: break a bottle
on the edge of a table and
                                            prove me right. Whisper a lie
into a child’s ear and prove me
                                            right. Tell a story about a body, stretched
from one coast to the other, so righteous
                                            so big and beautiful, it didn’t have to
grind bones to make its bread.

                                            You popcorn munchers. You
would gift wrap the atom bomb.
                                            You love the thrash of death
just as much as salvation;
                                            the ever­expanding flood of red
you’d like to drown in — You will.
                                            Your heart got so dangerous
you couldn’t wear it anymore.
                                            You keep it now stuffed under the mattress —
or in the lockbox — in the safe
                                            with the safety off. When you need it,
you take it out, rack the action, with a
                                            glory be and hallelujah, I am glorified again.
The only difference now between
                                            Pandora’s box and your body
is that Pandora’s box contained hope.

                                            When they pull the children out of you,
they come out covered in your
                                            sickness. All bullets and beetles. Coins
and casings. You have been carrying
                                            this crime for so long, it will come out
dancing. Tragedy striptease, saying, Here,
                                            touch me, I am still warm from the chamber.
Don’t worry. You will get the prettiest
                                            coffin. You will look so handsomely surprised
when the beast you made
                                            comes back for you.

Melissa Newman-Evans has been the waitress and a regular reader at the Boston Poetry Slam since 2007. She was a member of the 2012 Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge slam team, co-coach of the 2012 and 2013 Emerson College slam teams, and has headlined poetry shows around the northeast. Her work has been recently published in Muzzle and Side B Magazine. She likes her whiskey on the rocks and her lipstick red.