Straight Razor

By Randall Mann Randall Mann Read the Q & A
He slid the stiff blade up to my ear:
Oh, fear,

this should have been thirst, a cheapening act.
But I lacked,

as usual, the crucial disbelief. Sticky, cold,
a billfold

wet in my mouth, wrists bound by his belt,
I felt

like the boy in a briny night pool, he who found
the drowned

body, yet still somehow swam with an unknown joy.
That boy.

Source: Poetry (April 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2010
 Randall  Mann


Randall Mann’s poems are often set within the landscape of Florida or California. Influenced by Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Bishop, and Donald Justice, Mann’s poetry—at once vulnerable, unflinching, and brave in its ambivalence—explores themes of loss, attraction, brutality, and expectation. Of his preference for working in form, Mann says, “Form helps me approach more comfortably the personal, helps me harden argument.”

Mann is . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love


Poetic Terms Free Verse, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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