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How to Catch a Falling Knife

To Catch A Falling Knife

Temple your hands
palm to palm
and hold them out.
Let slice
between your thumbs
the day’s last

To catch a falling knife
you have to double-doubt

the knife: its rosewood handle
doubt and doubt
its stone-ground blade

or singing down
the knife will come
cleaving ring from pinky
finger, light from
dark and what you believe,
once and for all,
from what you don’t.

To catch a falling knife
you have to believe

there is no knife.
Temple, now, your trembling hands.


Zero can hold me for days,
small sack of white,

and I hold it back,
carrying it with me, hollow

as a wing bone,
weightless as winter light.

I bring zero here—
where the wind empties

its mouth again and again,
where seabirds circle and sing,

where men squat on buckets to fish—
and it swells in me, wet days

when the boats ghost past:
a zero so large I know

I could pass my body through it.

After Life

(Dead) we are lugging buckets of black
paint through the streets.
My sister (dead) stops to darken a pigeon;

my mother (dead) stoops
to smirch the steps of the church.
With bucket and brush,

this is our job. Night is night,
my father (dead) declares,
because it’s dark:

so we run through the world,
my brother and I, (dead, dead)
painting each fleck of light

black for the rapist, black for the stars.