The Tools of Amputation

by Shea Newton

We’ve been given a weapon.  They are by prescription only.  We’ve got a snub nosed revolver and ammunition.

We are plagued by growths, some more powerful than others.  We have hands that will not take what we want, that will take what we don’t.  We have feet that pull opposite directions, mouths that speak louder than others, eyes that see too much.

Our handgun will cripple the growths, rapidly and violently as they occur.  We could graduate to a more precise instrument, a scalpel someday, but now we have a handgun.  We use it with little or no discretion.

It is peculiar to fight a weapon from our hands, hands that strain to point the barrel back into our heart.  It is strange to hold the weapon in our hands and shoot, hoping that if there are other hands they will be different.

Though it’s illegal to use recreational weapons, we do.  With bats and knives we’ve hit our legs and arms and eyes in order to sit restful, blurry and numb.  But the handgun is different, it keeps us safe.  From eyes that don’t see clearly and our hands.  It has to.

There are others with growths.  We’ve seen them, looked longingly at five legs walking in near unison, three hands embracing a lover.  We can’t walk in unison, it’s exhausting to try.  With the handgun we’ve grown accustomed to simply the legs that walk forward comfortably, eyes that look to the clouds on purpose and mouths speaking simple sentences.

It was frightening at first, aiming at our growths each morning, hoping that our feet were bad feet.  But now our blood clots sooner and we don’t often feel faint.  We know that when we shake, the first shot will steady our aim.

We’ve let others use our gun, we have ammunition.  They have lost their mouths and ears, sometimes they take weeks to recover.  Maybe they only had one mouth to begin with.

We’ve been through heads.  Recovery is quick.  We’ve become accustomed.

SHEA NEWTON lives in Boise, ID, where he recently decided to never sing karaoke again.

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