The Knife

By Douglas Cole


It lies mysterious to the child

on a workbench out of reach,

or in grandfather’s pocket or palm

at Christmas, a razor edge,

with faint smell of oil, open

to cut away a package bow

or the tight knot of shipping twine.

And by adolescence it becomes

the defining tool, the weapon,

miraculous base of civilization,

from the fire to the kill,

to the meal ending in apple

wedges direct from the blade.

It was passed on to me

and from me will also go,

this emblem of the past,

living in the bone handle

all the hands that held it

etched into the light that rises

out of the metal, cut by cut.



I’ve had work in The Connecticut River Review, Louisiana Literature, Cumberland Poetry Review, and Midwest Quarterly.  I have work available online as well in The Adirondack Review, Salt River Review, and Avatar Review, among others, and I recorded a story for Bound Off.  I have work forthcoming in the Red Rock Review and a novella to be issued as a chapbook in the Overtime series of Workers Write Journal. I won the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry for a selection called, “The Open Ward,” a Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House and First Prize in the “Picture Worth 500 Words” poetry contest by Tattoo Highway.  I live in Seattle, Washington and I teach writing and literature at Seattle Central College, where I am also the advisor for the literary journal, Corridors.

Comments are closed.