Patrick Ryan Frank

The Gun in the First Act

It came home in his briefcase. He showed her its clip,
the trigger and the safety, the proper grip.It wasn’t as she’d expected: not cold or dull.
It shined, hot in her hand, surprisingly small,

both delicate and heavy, like a baby
that didn’t cry. It could fit in her pocket. Maybe

she’d carry it out sometimes, she said, in case…
He said he’d rather she left it in its place

in the nightstand drawer. They’d probably never need it,
but there’s no harm in being prepared. She didn’t

say anything, just aimed at the radio,
which sang to itself a song he didn’t know.

Patrick Ryan Frank is the author of How the Losers Love What’s Lost, which won the 2010 Intro Prize from Four Way Books; and The Opposite of People, to be published by Four Way Books in 2015. He is the recipient of fellowships from the James A. Michener Center for Writers, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Vermont Studio Center, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was recently a Fulbright Fellow to Iceland.