It Will Come Semi-Automatically

by matt petronzio


A gun gives you the body, not
the bird. The blood-drained bird
tied to the hood of your car still
skims its interrupted
meadow. Plumage sounds so
violent now. Plummet. Plumb-
—the weight of new carcass
hitting the dirt. My body hit
the dirt once, hers on top of mine
in a stumble of skin. Anything
violent dissolved. But we weren't
birds. I come from a family
of birds who begged for the bullet
and took it themselves. Sometimes
I worry their songs pitch
through my veins like ruby-
throated warblers. I take
them into my dreams
and wonder what instruments
they might have used, and when
I wake up, I try to remember
I am not a bird, I am not a bird.

The first line in this poem is borrowed from Henry David Thoreau.

Ghost Ocean 15

Matt reads "It Will Come Semi-Automatically"


Matt Petronzio is a poet, journalist, and editor based in New York City. His poems have appeared in PANK, InDigest, Breakwater Review, NAP, and featured on Verse Daily. He earned his MFA in poetry from Hunter College, where he received the Academy of American Poets Prize, among other awards.