The Knife-Sharpener’s Daughter

By Stuart Dybek b. 1942 Stuart Dybek
A drain spout splashing
rusty stains on concrete,
the taste of doorknobs
you kiss before squinting
through the musty keyhole
at the knife-sharpener’s daughter,
while across the city
the knife-sharpener
limps his pushcart
with its dinging axles,
with its screeching whetstone
up wet alleys
crying: scissors! knives! axes!

Stuart Dybek, “The Knife Sharpener’s Daughter” from Brass Knuckles, published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 1979 by Stuart Dybek. Reprinted by permission of Stuart Dybek.

Source: Brass Knuckles (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1979)

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Poet Stuart Dybek b. 1942

Subjects Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Stuart  Dybek


Poet and fiction writer Stuart Dybek was born in 1942 and raised on the South Side of Chicago. He attended Loyola University in Chicago and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His collections of poetry include Brass Knuckles (1979) and Streets in Their Own Ink (2004). His works of fiction, including the short story collections Childhood and Other Neighborhoods (1980) and The Coast of Chicago (1990), and the novel-in-stories I Sailed . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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