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Knife and Salt

At sundown, we sit at our garden’s edge,

speak of thinkers and their theories—


what’s real, if something follows

this life, the ways of knowing


the little we know. An owl swoops

the creek below, swift as death. I shift


in my lawn chair, pick at my knee—

an old wound I won’t let heal.  


Do you wonder, I ask, if Descartes

ever said, I feel pain, therefore I am?


You sigh, run your eyes to a remnant

of light in the oak above—as if,


in your drift, you could reenter the time

of our son, inhale his dusky scent.


I honor your silence. But what I feel,

what I know, what I want to say is,


we have no choice but to watch

September settle on our garden.  


And look! All these tomatoes

that cling to withered vines—blushes


of green and carmine, waxen wines

and yellows, the swollen heirlooms.


When the next one falls, my love,

I’ll pick it up, fetch us a knife and salt.



Finalist, NORward Prize for Poetry

Published in New Ohio Review, Issue 27, Spring 2020.

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