Richard Peabody

At the Gun Clinic

The waiting room
filled with middle-aged white men
nursing splintered stocks,
broken spring guides, frozen bolts,
gun barrels lodged with shells.

Winchester, Mossberg, Remington, Colt.

Broken hammer, frozen trigger,
jammed cylinder, detached slides.

Nighthawk, Browning, Swiss Arms, Glock.

A man crying. A nurse saying,
“I’m sorry, we haven’t been able to find
any parts for your–

Beretta, Ithaca, Marlin, Mauser.

A nurse waves you back to a
smoke-filled office.

“Dr. Ammo will be with you shortly.”

She calls your British-made Ferguson rifle
“So, cute,” and winks.

“How long have you had this little darling?
the Doc asks, breezing into the small office
waving a copy of Guns & Ammo.

5 years. You use it for War of 1812 reenactments.

“The Breech mechanism is shot.”

Dr. Ammo laughs.

“No, I mean—”

Dr. Ammo shakes his head,
raises an index finger to
masked lips, whispers shh.


Reading Kerouac in Quebec City

Upper Town
Christmas Market

Cinnamon and cloves

A maple syrup roasted
rack of venison


Chateau Frontenac
toboggan rides

Cocktails and ambience

Lower town
via Funicular cable

love songs

Carnival Grog
and crepes

Stone walls and
cobblestone streets

His writing mimics jazz

We forget his
first language

until surrounded

in this province
where even cats


the rhythms
of Quebecois

© Richard Peabody

Born in Washington, DC. and now living in Arlington, VA., poet, writer, editor, teacher, publisher, Richard Peabody wears many literary hats. He taught fiction writing at Johns Hopkins University for 15 years. His Gargoyle Magazine (founded 1976) will release issues 74 and 75 by the end of 2021. He has edited (or co-edited) 26 anthologies including Mondo Barbie and A Different Beat. Guinness on the Quay, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2019.

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