Alexandra Teague • Winchester .351 High-Power Self-Loading Rifle

—from an ad in The American Field, 1909

“It was the love which the hunter has for living things,
and which he can only express by aiming his gun at them.”
Italo Calvino

Who doesn’t dream of a heart with all sights
attached, all moving parts enclosed? A love
that can shoot through steel? See how the cougar eyes
the bold word Winchester—its jagged rush—

his body, whisker-close against the cliff, unflinching.
Already he’s prey: his muscled legs like roots
too deep for springing; a pendulum stilling
for the chime of fate. Who wouldn’t lose

this skin for an instant of lightning—one
flash from the lightest, strongest, handsomest
repeater ever made? Who hasn’t gone
to a ledge like this and waited? The scent

on the wind that draws them: lover or devil,
the heart reloading even as it recoils.

Alexandra Teague is the author of Mortal Geography, winner of Persea’s 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and the 2010 California Book Award, and The Wise and Foolish Builders (forthcoming from Persea in 2015). Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in journals including Gulf Coast, ZYZZYVA, New England Review, and The Southern Review. She is Assistant Professor of Poetry at University of Idaho and an editor for Broadsided Press.