April 6, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Sarah Han photo



Liz Marlow




The Rampant Colt


In the days before firearms, when the crusaders went into battle on horseback and armed with spears—one very intelligent horse, seeing that his rider was about to be pierced by the enemy’s spear—reared on his hind legs, grasped the spear in his mouth, struck out with one hoof and broke the spear: This is emblematic of the Colt—always coming to the defense of the master.    

    —from the Archives of the Connecticut State Library (Author Unknown)




Colt written

with a large sweeping C

beside a horse,


the Rampant Colt,

with a spear in his mouth

and front legs on the grips:


saving handgun

for a police officer

(who wants this over with,

because it’s the end

of his shift) pointed at a man


of any race

(let’s not get political)

trying to kill

his wife with a knife


as she bleeds

mascara out of her eyes

on the lawn of the mansion,


house, trailer, apartment;

hunting rifle

my father-in-law

used on the head of a deer


after he got the hip,

that deer was dead

(just didn’t know it yet)


from all the blood

leaking from its side

like a nearly empty box


of merlot you have to tilt up

towards you

to fill a glass;


army rifle

used on a brown skinned man

in a faraway country,

the man


may or may not have been wearing

a green turban signifying

paradise rather than decay

surrounding him,


may or may not have had a bomb

strapped under sweaty clothes

(the soldier wondered

how else that sweat got there),


may or may not

have been on his way to pray;

black market pistol

stolen from a Camry’s glovebox,


pointed at my face

as I got into my car

leaving my apartment


for my call center job

on a Friday night;

I tried to close the door,

but the all-seeing eye of G-d,


a single hole for a bullet to

hit me,

stared me down

an inch from my face,


my brains would have covered

the deadeye’s steel

puffy jacket like ground beef


had I not immediately handed

him my purse,

his quiet “excuse me, ma’am”

like a familiar voice


on my favorite radio station

calmed me into giving him

everything he wanted.








do not hide inside closets

or behind Halloween masks.

Instead, they hide behind

steering wheels, toy guns,

and real AR-15s. They look

through rearview mirrors, iron

sights, and scopes to see a bicycle

path or concert, to see horror worn

like a dated costume: a pillowcase

or papier-mâché mask. They never

live long enough to see loss

on mourners’ faces, but instead

draw a picture of it in their heads,

the way children draw feelings

with scribbles. They consume fear

the way vehicles consume fuel,

the way mirrored buildings

consume reflections of how

we wish the sunset looked

every evening, how we wish

the city looked without its garbage

in the streets, without its history

bleeding in sidewalk cracks

or recreating the skyline.

The monster looked at his reflection

in the mirror one morning

and said to it, “This is who

I want to be. This is how

I want to be remembered,”

without asking anyone else

how they want to be remembered.






Liz Marlow

Liz Marlow has an MFA from Western Michigan University and an MBA from The University of Memphis. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Binnacle Ultra-Short Edition, Deep South Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

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