Pocketknife

BY Christopher PRewitt
 

For the poisoned moon
the untouched girls
want to shoot,

for the want of getting
away from nature
and the branches

hanging between my teeth,
I was given four blades to snip and bleed.
In the laughter at the dinner table,

I want to hide from death.
Father polishing his lungs
in a black-stained napkin

before sliding it back down his throat,
like a sword swallower by the caravan.
Four blades to fold and pocket

now that I’m old enough
to go to the city to watch the dancers
posing like crucifixions around the poles.

Four blades, five years per blade
that I have sweated
weeding the family plot.

I do not wish to see the moon end,
at least not at once.
Drip by drip, O glow, punctured moon.

Drip a little light at a time
on the girls’ flat stomachs,
on the soil that’s kept us going

too long,
soil I have given and must give my life to,
soil I do not wish to become.

 

Assemblage on Sunday Morning


Sometimes I feel as though
I have nailed an egg to my forehead;
other times I realize
that I’m only driving to Marmet,
West Virginia.

Prayer alone isn’t enough
for my breasts to swell.
I will never carry a child
by its stiff ankles
into this city

where the mouth of the river,
in a congregation of fog,
mumbles elegies
into backyards, hanging among
heavy quilts on clotheslines.

Whatever I am looking for
must be beautiful
in a jar
of soft thighs and hard veins
my god doesn’t want me to see.

Outside Tudor’s Biscuits,
I can keep my car engine running
while a gap-toothed girl in
a medical gown
receives a photo
of a highway at night
that the milk of countless headlights
tries to spill over.

 

Listen to poems from our National Poetry Month "30/30" combo issue!


Christopher Prewitt resides in Blacksburg, VA with his wife. Formerly a poetry editor for Inscape (Morehead, KY) and Minnesota Review, Prewitt regularly publishes poetry, fiction, and essays. He is a recipient of the Virginia Tech Poetry Award as well as the Billie & Curtis Owens Creative Writing Award.