My Uncle Has an AK-47

Whittney Jones

He’s not afraid to tote
it in the open, against
his shoulder, loaded

already. Beer-breathed, he takes
aim at a metal pinwheel
he made, has hammered

into the dirt of a harvested
cornfield. “Shit, watch
this,” he says and shoots. It bangs, pings

the metal and the silver petals
spin, singing his success. He says,

“Hallelujah,” and stumbles, squeezing
his sac and thrusting

air. Sometimes the world
tilts, and he rolls

with it. Sometimes it takes
awhile to make it back
to his double-wide.

He spreads his arms
like a large, skeletal
bird—crows. A light

flickers on in a house down
the street.

He demands, “What?”

He’s doing
a rain dance now, gun lifted


for the dead he’s lost. He taught
his boy to shoot once.

He told him the wind
matters too, but he’s not

a goddamned scientist
so just guess and hope

the plinker
spins. “Sometimes
you win

some,” he says to the lit
window down the street.

Whittney Jones is winner of the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize in The Illinois Emerging Writers Competition. She holds an MFA from Murray State University. Her poems are featured or forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Zone 3, Split Lip Magazine, Switchback, and the minnesota review, among other journals.