Adam's Gun

Jasmine and Stephanie Cui


after William Faulkner                            

Adam’s gun is a womanizer, / which is to say its victims are born / between itching crosshairs. this
feminine inheritance: / to be prey from birth. / at the bodega on West 42nd, / I bear witness to its
everyday violence. / the summer hums, slow & thick, / & I watch as Adam’s gun buries / its shaft
into a trembling throat. / crybaby, it says, / you think you’re something. / everything happens in focus, so
close, / her grief feels like mine. / the gun’s rancid steel menacing my mouth, / her litany of bruises
clustered against my abdomen / —wretched constellation. like most dead things, / she is lace-
frocked & inconsolable, / another erasure, another body made anonymous / by the black clap of
Adam’s gun. / to me, it says hush, / I can kill the language in you too. / Adam’s gun always remembers to
take / its collateral because a perfect crime has no bystanders. / it explains her as the gunshot,
interval streams of venom. / her exposed wrist, the way she grasped / a bouquet of red canna
/ as variations on asking / for it. there are two ways of placing the blame, / but Adam’s gun always
chooses wrong. / woman is a bullet wound, / not a siren-red flight path. but Adam’s gun turns us
into echoes, / which is to say we shrink at alarming rates, / allowing the narrative to distort /
accordingly. how easily the pistol erases pen. / there is a reason why Adam’s gun isn’t taught / in
Sunday schools. we are always made to forget / this concealed carry, / its cold, bright curvature, / its
convenient misfire.


Jasmine Cui is eighteen and apologizes too much.