“Images of Kurt Cobain’s Shotgun Released” by William Fargason

William Fargason


The rust that covered the chamber
was the first thing I noticed,
the chamber open as an empty tomb,

as someone who could just walk away,
a shadow at midday, hammer pulled back.
April, almost twenty-two years ago:

the last time the gun held a bullet you held
the gun like the door that it was. Some nights
before I got blackout drunk I would hide

the hollow-point bullets to the Colt .357
my father gave me for graduation,
its silver smile. I did not want the gun

so easy, so ready. The engraving
on both sides of your shotgun, so delicate
it could’ve been carved with the end

of a snapped guitar string: a duck,
wings beating against the water, trying
to takeoff. A pheasant in the grass

at full stride. Both animals forever
fleeing, like a song stuck on repeat
that keeps starting over again.

Poets Respond
March 22, 2016

[download audio]


William Fargason: “This poem, as the title suggests, is about the first time (on March 18, 2016) the Seattle Police Department released pictures of the shotgun Kurt Cobain used to kill himself. This piece of the story had always been missing, had always been left up to the imagination, until now. The images were too haunting to look away from. As a longtime fan of Nirvana, I wrote this elegy. ” (website)

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