Said Gun’s War

by ANDREW GRACE

And the “rednecks” will be there.

And the “Yaller-heels” will be there, also.

And the “hayseeds” and “gray dillers,” they’ll be there, too.

And the “subordinates” and “subalterns” will be there to rebuke their slanderers and traducers.

And the men who pay ten, twenty, thirty, etc. etc. percent on borrowed money will be on hand.

And the “wool hat boys” will burn all of the silk in the county.

And the black miners will wear red bandanas around their necks in solidarity with the rednecks.

And the tanners will come from their exile smelling of effluence.

And the men who work at the grindery will brandish their immaculate knives.

And the farmers who have not slept for months.

And the farmer’s wives will walk in the ruins of the city of hay.

And the snow-fed, shrubby children of the farmers will sharpen their sticks and lay in the rank ditches.

And the housekeepers who clean their relatives’ floors on all fours.

And the welders will be there, black robed, acetylene-fisted, lowering their masks.

And the incontinent old men will show us the maps tattooed on their bodies.

And the illiterate farmhands who eat boiled weeds will be there.

And the separatists will weep, for this is what they’ve been waiting for.

And the bingo-crazed German women will strengthen us with black soups.

And the “billy” and “gritter” will join us too.

And the truck drivers who have kept the beacons of their loneliness lit inside of themselves for just this moment.

And the ex-Amish strippers who can never go back.

And the Indians whose ghosts charge us no rent.

And the mechanics who pause to think more often than grazing sheep, then proceed to solve for X.

And all of the missing fingers taken by machines will point out the enemy.

And the penny nail factories will tune their anvils into song.

And the anvil-makers will drum slag into tools.

And we will wait for a signal.

And the field will cough forth a solitary crow.

And then it will be time to begin.


ANDREW GRACE’s manuscript-in-progress is titled The Last Will and Testament of Said Gun. Sections of the manuscript have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, New England Review, Poetry Daily, Shenandoah, Guernica, 32 Poems, Poet Lore and The Paris-American. He teaches at Kenyon College.