“The First Time I Took My Gun to the Range” by Alejandro Escudé

Alejandro Escudé


I looked at the gun and it fired.
My finger was left on the trigger
and the bullet went into the range but high
so that it left a poof-dust on the ceiling
but no one noticed—my heart
sped up, I’d literally watched fire fire from the barrel.

First lesson: never put your finger on the trigger
until you are sure of the target you want to destroy
and what’s beyond it.

That night, I thought, what if the gun
had been aiming at me? My face? My foot?
My chest? I thought about it and thought about it
until I decided not to regret anything

The following morning
I was still happy I owned a gun.

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets

[download audio]


Alejandro Escudé: “It’s weird being an immigrant when you have come so young. The birth country becomes mythological. It becomes this sort of poetry in itself, and you get confused between the dreams you had when you were little and the real place. So it becomes a real storehouse of poetry. … I read to assimilate. I think every poet has their moment. For me it was ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.’ ‘When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table …’ It was lines like those, and that outsider feeling of Prufrock, that sense that something’s different about me. It was really a kind of longing in that poem that I gravitated toward. My English teacher gave me that poem, and I remember sitting at my desk thinking, ‘What is this?’” (web)

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