19 pages 38 minutes read

Danez Smith

It won’t be a bullet

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 2017

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Literary Devices

Line Break

A line break can be used to create a double meaning in a sentence or to emphasize one part of a sentence over the other. In “it won’t be a bullet,” Smith uses line breaks several times to impart double meanings.

The speaker says, “find me / buried between the pages” (Lines 4-5). This break puts the emphasis on the first part of the sentence, the speaker telling the reader to “find [them]” (Line 4). It suggests at first that the speaker wants the reader to know who they are as a living person. The full sentence, however, changes the meaning from a command to a revelation that the speaker will already be dead, and it will be too late to know who they really are or were in life. Mortality is fleeting and death can come quickly, cutting off our possibility of knowing one another for who we really are. The lines also suggest that history routinely buries Smith and those like them. To really see them, one must “find” (Line 4) them not on the surface of the page, which is what one can easily see or read, but “between” (Line 5) the pages, in the so-called fringes or spaces that don’t get much attention.