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Every Time I Sharpen the Knives

or clatter them into the sink, I think
of John Muir, suddenly blind
by an awl snapped upward,
piercing his eye. What remained?
A hunger for holiness, like when I realize
everything outside was made
by someone’s hands—even
the rats, boundless and loud,
fat on trash. All of it, I fold
into the suitcase of myself.
I hike out to find wild, knees crackling
like cantillations under prayer.
In the woods, I watch rock walls
turn in on themselves, squint
to make edges against sky—
I tend not to trust my eyes. Years ago,
a girl died in a nearby pond. I’m told
she filled her pockets with rocks.
I forget, sometimes, that I was there
that night walking—saw a figure
by the edge, palm pale on the water.
I could barely see. I know
I saw her. I wish I could tell
what’s about to be gone—that the trees
the next day would be strung
with yellow tape, branches bucking
under a helicopter’s breath.


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