Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Knife

What can you say about the knife that hasn't already been said? It is the same knife today as it was yesterday. Even if the law decided to melt it down, it would still be a knife tomorrow. You can travel back through the history of the knife & discover the America-like violence of its birth, how it carved yokes into brown bodies & how it chose night as its uniform. The knife very quickly discovered skin, blood, & the poor. The knife is an instrument & so takes its identity from the purpose of the hand that uses it. The knife can glide gracefully down a backbone in mimicry of a feather. Or it can leap from one carved island of bone to another. When I was given the knife I pretended to be a survivalist even though I lived in the inner city. The knife melted into milk in my hands & I poured it into the wailing mouth of my baby. It was redelivered into the world & made its way to an open sewer. A woodpecker used the knife to cut down the lone acacia on the block. The tree tumbled & soon it was as if nothing had ever grown there. Except the knife. From a sandy oval in concrete, the knife jutted like a mouse tail. It waited for someone who believed in dynamite.

Credit


Copyright © 2018 by Rodney Gomez. Used with the permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Quarterly West Issue 94

Author


Rodney Gomez

Rodney Gomez is the author of Ceremony of Sand, forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2019, and Citizens of the Mausoleum (Sundress Publications, 2018), as well as several chapbooks. He’s the winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize. A member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and the Chocholichex writing collective, he serves as an editor at Latino Book Review and works at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Date Published: 2018-07-02

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/knife