News from St. Louis

Lowry Pei


The wife holds her pistol as if

it’s a cigarette she’s in the middle of smoking,

and she’s showing it to you:

See, I have a cigarette.

When I’m holding a cigarette,

nothing can happen to me.

Could that be what she’s thinking?

What is she imagining that she is doing?

What if her cigarette should drop an ash, or a bullet

just at the moment, in her waving of it,

when it happens to be pointing at a human being?

Does she think that person would die?

Maybe she thinks it’s a toy gun

like the one Tamir Rice had

when the police shot and killed him.

Maybe she and her husband don’t notice

that at one point in this half-minute clip,

they turn toward each other to exchange a few words,

they seem to be pointing their guns at each other,

and at that moment they could, with a slight

pull of two triggers, kill each other.

The gun is her finger – she gestures with it,

indicating something she wants him to notice.

Does she remember

that pointing this finger can burst someone’s heart?

What dream is she standing in?

Who is she, in her dream?

She must not be in war, because in war

there would be other people trying to shoot her,

but her whole body tells you this never crosses her mind.

In her dream there is only one army.

No one could be trying to shoot her, because

no one out there, beyond the front lawn,

is a person like her, no one else could

determine, as she can, their fate.


The people on the street are demanding justice.

If they were there for revenge, she’d be one of the first to go.