poem envisioning the opposite of violence

by Myles Taylor

I chop vegetables to fry & the knife slices a thin stripe of red on my finger. I twist the cut off
like a wedding band & leave the new-formed ring on the side of the sink. The hot pan
presses into my hand & the pink mark washes off with soap. The meal goes into my
stomach and I do not regret it. Here, every car stops inches from last-minute crosswalks. A
person sees a different person on the train & is filled with a steady joy. Our legs touch on
the seats & we cannot imagine a reason to pull away. The train operators can afford their
rent. The tracks know no blood. No one is sure what blood looks like, only we all have it,
therefore we are all very fond of it. Here, we take the shortest route home at night. We pack
flashlights but no knives. We do not consider our knuckles. I peel off the bruises on my
knees before every work shift. The bird face-down in my driveway is taking a nap. Nothing
dies here until it is ready. My uncle slipped down the stairs & the carpet plushed up to catch
him. His head closed as soon as it opened. He was never a violent man to begin with. I do
not have to sit here contemplating whether the death of a violent man is more violence, or
less. I do not have to be the authority on violence to protect myself. Here, nobody thinks I
invented the word trigger for fun. No one knows what a trigger is here because there are no
guns here. I reach my love’s bed unsore & untired. Our two bodies form the shape of the y
in yes and our mouths finish the sentence. Yes and no are complete sentences. No one has
ever left a fingerprint on either of us. The bird wakes up before us & sings us into morning.
I stumble out to the kitchen & find the thin red ring still sitting on the counter. I slip it back
on because it is mine now. All of my scars are white pearl bracelets lining my limbs. They
are mine now. I dress myself in everything that has happened to me. I can remove them at
any time because they are mine now. My love comes out at the smell of breakfast. Neither
of us feel too small to nourish ourselves. Our bodies have no evidence of the night before.
We are not afraid of this. We are never afraid.

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