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‘Guns Won’t Feed You, but Hold out Your Hands’ by Ruth Awad

— Hannah Cohen

Ruth Awad said it best in her tweet about this poem’s creation, “the only safe way to handle a gun is to not fucking touch it.” The tangibility and anthropomorphism of gun violence in American culture is observed in its word choices: “alive”, “hunger”, “organ”, lending itself to imagine this disembodied stomach, always craving a target such as “your neighbor, / the dog, a child”.

By treating a gun as a living thing, we’re forced to reckon with “its muzzle … willing / to destroy” whatever is in its way. How each stanza is two lines with uneven length echoes its fragility. Awad completely destroys you with this poem, makes you think long after about how the “mechanics / don’t come naturally.”


The Rumpus