Before I Walk Out the Door, I Grab My Switchblade Because sadness wears a leather jacket, I carry a butterfly knife— all weapons should have names so tender —I know a woman who sliced the tops of her thighs while telling her teenage daughter how wonderful the world was like loving the butterfly while pulling off your own wings holding the hand of a toddler and dragging along the devil with the other feeding dolphins while wrapped in fish netting maybe this is why I keep a switchblade in my bra you never know who needs freeing or who is drowning in what’s been thrown away when I see this woman in her cargo shorts setting a blanket out on a blacktop beach I sit next to her and tie us together with haloes of fireflies with plastic bags and twist ties with daisy chains with the underside of a cloud from the top of a mountain if you look down if you turn yourself to another view if you stare too long at the shadows of women you can hardly tell us apart. Men Write Us Love Poems 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love. The Two Gentleman of Verona Tonight, my muse wants to put her mouth on my poem. As I write she bites the rhubarb galette, says she wants a Kelli of her own. As if. As if we could buy creation like a clock, tick tock tick tock. What’s the secret to being a wildflower? A distinction from weeds. In a superbloom, we’re more likely to avoid the pantofles of the careless, the lawnmower men. Sometimes I hope my hallucinations include sandwiches and slam dancing at a Shakespeare festival because dear Bill had only 144 speaking parts for women in his plays. Let me be the one who holds the dagger and safely return it to its sheath. Let me place the poison high on the shelf. Our voices echo over balconies—we do not need to be compared to a summer’s day, we’re already the sun; we are everything that blooms. Ways to Fly Back from the second ring of Saturn she points to a clothesline covered in cobwebs she found inside the second ring of the patriarchy. Today, a blowback of blue, blue warblers of a nation. Who tied our wings together, who stole our feathers? When she says, I love a woman who loves a little destruction, and I want to remodel my life, become her green delight of grass, untamed, an uncommon patch left untouched by wildfire. And when I fall into the burning woods of her, she says, The universe is our sideshow—how easy it is to be dazzled by the meteor landing in a neighbor’s yard. We are praying to the sky but unlike those who believe they have sinned, we pray like joyful saints and praise the summer of flower crowns and the girls who called themselves sunshine, who called themselves a verb—so wild, so many ways to fly away above what’s left of the forest that continues to burn.
About the Author:
Kelli Russell Agodon is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press and lives in a sleepy seaside town in Washington State on traditional lands of the Chimacum, Coast Salish, S’Klallam, and Suquamish people where she is an avid paddleboarder and hiker. She serves on the poetry faculty at the Rainier Writing Workshop, a low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University. Her fourth collection of poems, Dialogues with Rising Tides was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2021.You can write to her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website: www.agodon.com.