Saturday, 11 August 2018


I’ve got my finger on the trigger—

by Andrena Zawinski


I’m taking aim
at the teen stalker who left unwrapped Trojans
for my mother to find in my Sherpa pockets /
taking aim
at the old boyfriend who dumped Guinness on my head
in a bar in the middle of winter and stole my peacoat.

I‘m looking down the barrel
at a rock band all star who shoved himself into me
then zipping up said this was about winning - he won /
looking down the barrel
at my ex-husband who grabbed me from behind
at lunch time then blamed me he fell asleep at his job.

I’m staring through the crosshair
at the cop who wanted to trade a bj for not taking me
to #1 Station for walking home at night past curfew /
staring through the crosshair
at the lifeguard who lifted me onto a bed
raised like an altar with his wingman watching
after dosing my iced tea with a Roofy.

I am breathing hard.
My heart is pounding.
My arm has steadied.
I have cocked the hammer.

My eye is on the target
for all my sisters grabbed and groped /
fingered and beaten / raped and murdered /
who suffer daily affronts and shamings
in offices / on elevators / on trains / in streets
just trying to get home.

I am looking at you
who have dared to say
as a woman tells the truth about her life
that she’s just overreacting or hysterical.
I am ready
to press my finger to the metal.

This is not a metaphor.
This is righteous indignation.
This is a wound that bleeds
and pulses with pain.


* * * * *

" I’ve got my finger on the trigger—" was previously published in Raven Chronicles' Journal, Vol. 25, and appeared as I’ve got my finger on the trigger, too (in conversation with Jan Beatty’s “Shooter”), Seattle, WA 2017.

Andrena Zawinski is a veteran educator and activist poet whose work has received accolades for lyricism, form, spirituality, and social concern. Her latest collection is Landings. She has two previous award winning books: Something About and Traveling in Reflected Light. She runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com. Her poems, “When Paris Was a Woman” and “Never the Right Recipe” previously appeared at Writing in a Woman’s Voice.