The Knife

In my sleep:
Fell at his feet         wanted to eat him right up
would have         but
even better
he talked to me.

Did I ask you to?
Were those words my blood-sucking too?

Now I will have a body again
move differently, easier         back to the plan
a little house         a woman and a man

crossed against yours my soul will show
glow through my breastbone:
Back down into the kitchen

Here         I will save you
others have failed, even died, but I
will save you         you save me         devour me away

Woke up:
I can cry but I can't wake up
today again         don't answer the door
then did         couldn't look at you talk
couldn't place the bed in the room, or where the room was
when I closed my eyes

This is the same old knife         my knife
I know it as well as I know my own mouth
It will be lying there on the desk if

I open my eyes I will know the room very well
there will be the little thrown-out globe of blood we left
and every molecule of every object here will swell
with life. And someone will be at the door.
Jean Valentine, “The Knife” from Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003. Copyright © 2004 by Jean Valentine. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965-2003 (Wesleyan University Press, 2004)
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