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Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux's most recent collections are The Book of Men and Facts about the Moon, both from W.W. Norton. Laux is also the author of Awake, What We Carry, and Smoke from BOA Editions, as well as a fine press edition, Dark Charms from Red Dragonfly Press. Laux teaches in the M.F.A. Program at North Carolina State University.

I Go To The Mall For A Knife

A good knife, one that will kill
any hard root. I'll buy a knife
like the knives I've seen on TV—
a man in a white chef's jacket
with wild-carrot-colored hair,
hands like clay tablets, big
and biblical, dragging one thumb
along the beveled edge before
bringing it down with every pound
of his considerable weight,
splitting the ruffled head
of a red cabbage in half.  
I want that kind of knife—
maple wood haft, Kanji
characters etched on a wedge
of tempered steel. A knife
worthy of wielding. I want it
to flash like the wing of a jet plane
flying low above a chopping block
laden with garlic and peeled onions,
white globes glistening, smug
as a many-eyed god. I'll make a law
that all knives must be sharpened
against graphite rods in the middle
of the night when the world can't sleep.  
I want to slice the pale celery
down the length of its consummate
spine, razor away the strings,
then hold it up to my face
to check my teeth. I want a knife
that owns its shape, stealth,
sharpness and shine, a knife
worthy of its history, its name.
I want to pull it from its drawer
in the morning like I'm lifting
a heavy body from a grave.


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