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As I clean my Rifle

By J.B. Stevens


Ideadad via Unsplash 

The quiet holds me,
And the flow state hits.
I could do this in my sleep,
Zen through rifle disassembly.
A blindfold party trick that no one cares about.

The warm embrace of CLP,
(Cleans, lubricates, and protects—a wonderous product.)
The smell knocks and I spit out the taste of Arabian sand,
And IED aftershocks rattle in my chest,
And the dry heat comes and the never-ending exhaustion,
I’m still tired from that last patrol,
And always will be—a problem that no one cares about.
The last patrol.

I loved my M4,
And I love my AR15. Mine.
Ecstasy through assembly.

I worship at the altar of Eugene Stoner—
Stoner’s gift was blessed,

And I am forever thankful.

Nirvana through a trigger pull.
Clarity through taking souls.
Enlightenment through stacking bodies.
An existence no one cares about.


J.B. Stevens lives in the Southeastern United States with his wife and daughter. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry, was a finalist for the Killer Nashville Claymore award, and won Mystery Tribune’s inaugural micro-fiction contest. His poetry chapbook All the Violent Memories was released in March 2021, his short story collection A Therapeutic Death is being released in October 2021—both from Close to The Bone publishing. He is a veteran of the Iraq war where he earned a Bronze Star. Prior to the war, he was an undefeated Mixed Martial Arts Fighter. J.B. graduated from The Citadel. 

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