The AR-15 Finally Speaks By Ailey O’Toole

The AR-15 Finally Speaks

I’ve been given a power I don’t fully understand
and certainly don’t trust anyone to wield. Have you
ever considered that I never asked for this? I know
the damage I can inflict and I hate myself for it.

I am too powerful for my own good.

Do you think I ever wanted to take all those lives?
The 12 in Colorado, just trying to see a movie, 14 in
San Bernadino (California is too lovely a place for
such violence), 26 in Texas, church-goers who didn’t
know they needed to be praying for their lives, 58
country music lovers in Las Vegas, and now 17 in
Parkland, students and teachers alike, just going to
school, just doing their jobs, just living their lives.

My heart is breaking.

Is it possible to despise yourself for what you were
made to do? Is it reasonable to be furious because you
know you will be made to do this again and again?
How many lives will I be forced to take before someone
retires me and my brothers to a dusty stock room?
How many children have to stare down my muzzle
before someone takes a blow torch to my lower receiver
and rends me inoperable? How many more?

Please don’t make me do this.
As a semi-automatic rifle, there isn’t much I know
beyond death and destruction and chaos. But I do
know this: a weapon that can fire 90 rounds per
minute at a projectile velocity of 3,200 feet per
second is too much power for anyone to have.

I don’t want to take anymore lives.

By Ailey O’Toole

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America


Ailey O’Toole is a queer poet and bartender who writes about empathy, feminism, and pain. She hopes that everyone who reads her poems finds a piece of themselves in them and feels a little less alone. Her poems have previously appeared in The Odyssey, The Broke Bohemian, After the Pause, and are forthcoming from the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. Her submission for this issue includes “The AR-15 Finally Speaks,” “Instruments of Death,” and “We Can All Be Free.”


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