Robin Gow


The music box was made of bullets 
in a defy-laws-of-physical way.
Whenever I heard a gunshot 
my dad would say, “oh that’s just your sister
playing her music box.” I don’t have a sister
and the music box is made of thunder and fingernails.
I miss my tongue. It’s cutting itself
on the rim of a soda can. I drink carbon
like water. I catch bullets like wasps.
I use duct tape on the hole 
in the wall of the submarine. The water
is coming. The water is already here.



Outside today I came upon a dead deer.
It was crumpled like the rubble of an old house.
What was the last thing you saw dismantled?
A question is a way of telling the reader
“I want to implicate you in this poem.” Sometimes,
a man selling guns comes to my door and tells me
I need protection. I can’t tell if he’s threatening me.
If he is then I will need to buy a gun from him.
A sign hums on a porch and it says
“It takes an average of 22 minutes for 911 to respond to a call.
It takes an average of 13 seconds for me
to fire my gun.” The sign is 
afraid. Forgive me for my realism, music box.
I only wanted to tell a fairy story and here we are 
in American again.



The crystal shop is selling ammunition now. 
Bullets made of jade. Bullets made of sapphire. Bullets 
made of bone. Elk bone. Deer bone. Alligator bone.
Some of these are not practical but a bullet’s job
has never about practicality. The bullet is an instrument 
for puncture. How will you get to the other side 
of a canvas of flesh? Whose name will appear 
written into your skin when you wake up from 
from your last hallucination?


Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy (Tolsun Books 2020) and the chapbook Honeysuckle (Finishing Line Press 2019). Their first young adult novel, A Million Quiet Revolutions is forthcoming March 2022 with FSG Books for Young Readers. Gow’s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, Southampton Review, and Yemassee. They live in Allentown Pennsylvania with their queer family and two pug dogs and work at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. Check out what they’re up to at