My memory honed to an edge,
this leaf, that bread, the narrative of
my father holding the blade to my throat.
What do you know about knives?
If I told you that I have followed you home
at night, that I know your car,
the streets you travel, where you live,
and that I have waited for you evenings
after work with a knife in my hand.
If I told you this, would you be afraid,
stay awake, believe me?

The knife I always carry in my pocket was
meant to save me from you. Now it is
transformed and I am holding not a shield
but a sword, not protection but a weapon,
a sophisticated hunger to smell your fear.
I cannot tell if what I feel is

annoyance or horror,
this place where I got hurt by knives,
and by threat of them,
the place I want to give you in this poem
and let you wonder if I mean it,
if it is, as we say, really true.

from:  Windfall: New and Selected Poems (Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000)