Hatton Gallery Writing


This, you tell me,
is not a gun.
This is a work of art.
You slip its name
between Botticelli,
Bernini, Bosh.
You like the way it sounds
in the company of the masters.
You purse your lips
And say Beretta.

This is not a gun.
This is a tree
that grows in the snug
between your chest
and arm. And you
are the spreader
of its leaded seeds.

This is an heirloom.
You will pass it on
to your son and he to his,
and so on, and so on
until no one remembers
to whom it first belonged.

This is not a gun,
this is steel given breath
by the power
of conical locking lungs,
two perfectly round nostrils.

You take it to the fields
where it can breathe.

But when you are away,
I hear it rasp for air.

And though I try to let it out,
before I’ve even
turned the key of the safe
that thing, it always
says bang.

About the Author

Kris Johnson is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, working on a collection of poems which explore her relationship to the landscape of home, the American West. Her poetry has been commended in the RSPB/Rialto Nature Writing Competition, shortlisted for the Cadaverine Award for Young Writers and published in Poetry London, POEM, The Irish Literary Review, The Life Boat and The Ravenglass Poetry Press Anthology Volume 1.