Volume Two

Other People's Kitchen Knives

by Jessica Bolluyt

       Your funeral ended an hour ago, and I am inside a velvet room of upswept hair and bony shoulders, black silk dresses. Every pair of eyes is red: from the strain of ugly yellow light or the abrasion of drugstore tissues balled in every pocket.

       The fading daylight sharpens with failed attempts at forgiveness and the synchronicity of diplomatically averted eyes. Greenery is wilting on the table.

       The knife in your heart was steel from tip to hilt, like your stainless love for the piano played in minor keys. I remember sitting beside you on the piano bench, one day when you'd read about the number of teenagers killed in violent crimes, gunshots and stab wounds, in some book at school. You never mentioned the pills they swallowed to stop loving someone, just that tradition of innumerable deaths by blade: almost everyone in the wars before gunpowder, Romeo's Juliet, mythical suicides and literary murders, eighteen teenagers killed every six months in the capital alone. Sunday night, you made nineteen. The knife in your heart was steel from tip to hilt.

       And your Juliet is there, standing in a yellow anorak on the white-rain porch, and though I never talked to her, the evidence is in the photographs that I will always be the one you only thought

you loved. The moment I really decide to leave, diagramming the shortest route to the door, I hear your schoolday acquaintances talking about how much better everything was before Tom got that knife through his heart, and all that I can think about is how the knife in my heart is the memory of the dust floating in your eyes on summer afternoons.

Last Updated: 4/12/12