From 1986 to 2007, Russian cosmonauts were issued a TP-82 (and later, a semi-automatic pistol) as a survival gun to be used against predators after landing but before recovery in the Siberian wilderness.

I ejected from the womb and State
with toy rockets in my fists

and did what needed
to be done.

And years later,
Mother issued a gun

in case I had to

for rescue
after falling home a hero,

but not home,
tucked in the Tundra

with nothing but a helmet
and where stories

of vistas and views
would not persuade

the bear, if only he knew,
to let me live—

would not dissuade
the wolf

from doing what it
wanted from birth,

before, and beyond,
to do.



by Aaron Sandberg

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Aaron Sandberg

Aaron Sandberg has never shot a gun in his life. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in West Trade Review, Asimov’s, The Offing, Sporklet, Lowestoft Chronicle, Abridged, Giallo, Right Hand Pointing, Monday Night, and elsewhere. A Pushcart-nominated teacher, you might find him—though socially-distant—on Instagram @aarondsandberg

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