Ashley Mullin: “A Girl Is a Gun”
2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize Winner
This remarkable poem enthralled me from the first reading. I got caught up in the poem’s velocity, the way it built up to that shattering line at the end. How many of us have been that girl? Ashley Mullin lived to tell the tale.
— Alexis Rhone Fancher
A Girl Is a Gun
I was dulled and hollowed out and made something funny.
Neither a product of the world around me
or a product of my own design.
Just existing in slow harmony.
The ground shakes and here I am,
born just as I always was.
I thought to be loved was to carve myself out of stone,
chisel down the rough bits
and force myself into the palm of your hand.
I wanted to fashion myself into a weapon for you.
I wanted you to love this side of me,
the side that was not afraid of dying
and bleeding out on your bedroom floor.
I thought you would like this,
the enormity of my dedication to you.
You said you liked me because I never stopped moving.
I didn’t know how to tell you I was afraid to stand still.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Mullin is a 20-year-old amateur poet studying Psychology at CSU Long Beach. She has been creating since she could first pick up a pencil; from comic strips to poetry, she uses her art to express the complexities of mental health and its particular influence on interpersonal relationships. Outside of writing, she has been focused on her studies, with the goal of pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology next year. She hopes the introspective, as well as the perceptive, skills, she has practiced in writing poetry over the years will benefit her career. She also hopes to come out with a chapbook in the near future, as she believes that despite her career not following a path directly involving creative writing, she will always have a home and voice in the world of poetry.