Wednesday, April 30, 2008

*The Crossbow

Yeah, I wrote this a while back after reading a series of Thomas Lux poems, so I was in a bit of an absurdest mindset. I don't know that this is one of my favorite things that I've written, but I wanted to try and emulate Lux's style. The publisher I met with liked it enough to request a copy, so it's here. If you've got any suggestions please tell me because it's definitely a work in progress.

The Crossbow
by me

I met a man who had been shot in the head with a crossbow.
He was out hunting with his friend,
a friend who was eventually the best man in his wedding.

They were out hunting and it was an accident.
Why anyone would choose to hunt is beyond me,
but to hunt with a crossbow would be like trying to swim the Pacific—
it’s possible, but there’s got to be an easier way.

So he was shot in the head.
I asked him if it still hurt and he said
it never hurt.
He never felt it.
He saw the blood,
heard the bone crack,
and watched as his friend looked at him with what he called
“suicide eyes.”
But he didn’t feel anything but a gentle shove on his skull.

At first, he told me, it felt like a painless kick from a mule;
When I pressed him further, he admitted that he had never actually been kicked by a mule, so the comparison may not have been valid.

The team of doctors took pictures and videos and still, eight years later,
give lectures about this man.
But for all their talk and all their study,
they never removed the bow from his head.
They told him that to do so would surely cause his brain to bleed and other such fun things to occur.
They just trimmed the arrow point down to a nub.
So he combed his hair over the smooth cut shaft and you really didn’t know it was there
unless you happened to catch him coming out of the shower,
which I never did.

But this man, whom I met during a particularly boring hockey game,
is dead now.
He was killed by an infection in his heart.
The infection started in his arm,
Traveled through his blood, and ruined his heart.
A mosquito bit him and gave him the infection.

That was three years after the arrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i actually thought you met this guy when i read this last year. i really like "suicide eyes." but my favorite is the last line. i think about it often, actually, when i'm thinking of irony.

that was three years after the arrow.