Arrivals and departures marked by a two gun salute in an adjoining berm, loud POPs and a deeper BANG, the plink of a bullet stopped by metal. In my life, a similar two gun salute marked my arrival in the not-gone West as I shot up dead appliances rusting on a friend’s ranch. Today it’s a .22 or .45, magazines fully loaded, snapped into place in the grip, safety first and on until I step up to a line scuffed in mud. There’s a pleasure in handling these well-made objects, mixed with dread knowledge: that what I sight along, what’s in my hands, is meant to rip apart flesh, bring death down upon a bird, a deer, a person. There is pleasure in the kick, in the shock to the forearms and hands, the memory of a forge in its warm barrel—but gunmetal’s iron scent is too close to blood for me to want it close at hand, as others here may do.