Role of a Lifetime


The knife never knew its role
as an abettor, as an enabler,
as the supporting player and
as a criminal after the fact.
The knife just knew the hand
that gave it sparkling life,
that brought it into the light,
after lying benign and hidden
in the darkness and warmth offstage.

The knife recalls the first time.
The clammy hand tentatively
surrounding it too tightly,
shaking slightly. It recalls
the feel of fabric against
its tongue and then the air
rushing by before it returned to
its quiescent chrysalis darkness.

The knife knows this cocoon, where
it grew into the confident actor,
learned the daring dance of sliding
its length against cloth and skin
in the slash. It felt assured
in the grip and thrust where it tasted
the salty heat of ultimate anger.

Tonight, the knife learned for
the first time the feeling
of being alone in the cold,
with no hand to hold, no role
to fill except to lie still
as lemon light lit the bloody stage
where a gun in the first act
went off in the third.

Written like so many in “the old days” of my poet’s life. Awakened around 6:00 AM by a foggy inspiration I don’t recognize until I draw its picture on the page. So often, thesis why I miss the old days


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