Johannah Racz Knudson


Because my body was permeable, his gun was relevant. A gun depends on human anatomy: the expanse of torso, the viscous brains, the haphazard arteries, the tenuous wiring of nerve to vertebrae. A gun depends on knowledge of its potential. Because I knew, I was afraid.

A body is complex and delicate. I had brushed my teeth. I had examined the pores of my face in the mirror. I had pressed my hands against my breasts, cupped them in my palms. I was as soft as ever. I heard voices on the street. I turned out the light.

Guns hang on soldiers like theories. Soldiers carry weapons as if bearing proof. Guns are death and parades. Weapons are reasons to celebrate. The new president announced himself with tanks and flags. The people were obliged to rejoice. I was obliged to open the door. He wanted what soldiers want. He pointed the gun at my belly.

The moon was new. The sky was dark. I sensed my own anatomy, its soft machinery. Gravity questioned the certainty of his grip. His weapon fell. A man without proof. A soldier without a gun. I saw his fear and grabbed for it. It was in my hand. He was in my room. We wrestled for what I held. I fought for what I possessed. He pinned my arm to my side. I wanted my life. I was willing to bleed. I pulled the trigger. I yelped like a dog. He reared up and fled. The stairs thundered his descent.


Johannah Racz Knudson’s work has appeared in Puerto del Sol, Sycamore Review, Peregrine, Threadcount, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University and works as a freelance writer and writing coach in Northern Colorado.