A Dagger in the Side? Only if Necessary

Hopefully, that will never be necessary IRL (as a friend is wont to say on social media), but it works in a poem.  You see, over the last few days, a scene and a line have been running through my head: a woman walks up to me, says “Take this as a kindness, ” and rams a blade in my side. The scene stubbornly refused to move beyond that until last night when I had a hard time falling asleep, and I said to myself Fine, I’ll write about the woman and the dagger. Then the poem arrived pretty much whole. I repeated it to myself until I was sure I had it locked in my memory, and I drifted off to sleep.

I don’t know why I avoided the idea. Perhaps it needed to cook a little longer, as it were. But there was something offputting about the whole scene that made me write other things, which is sure sign I needed to write about the woman and the dagger. So I woke up this morning, ate breakfast, got the children settled, and typed it out.

I’m still working on fiction, but I don’t have anything ready to post. Perhaps by the end of the week. Until then, have a poem:

A Kindness

“Take this as a kindness,” she says
and slips a blade between my ribs.
My lungs whistle me past the graveyard.
“You’ve made a cavernous mistake,” I groan.
“Rethink it all and check your math.”

She consults her calculator watch
and comes up with a date: 1980.
I was seven that year, a blue boy
for Jesus if there ever was one,
stamping the ground to alert Satan
I had hate, hate, hate, down in my heart.
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart…

“My calculations sing truth,” she tells me.
“I need to stab you again, just to be sure.”
Snakes darting inside me, Alabama dirt
under my nails, I offer myself up.


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