Pocket Knife

Mar 29, 2019

Today’s poem is “Pocket Knife” by Bruce Willard. His poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Harvard Review, and Ploughshares, as well as on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac. He has two collections of poems: Holding Ground (2013) and Violent Blues (2016). A new book, Bond, will be published soon. 

 He writes, “‘Pocket Knife’ was written after my father’s passing a couple of years ago when I was reflecting on the legacy of making and unmaking that he passed to me. As I examined a pocket knife that he gave to me and that I carried for many years and thought of the different uses I put it to, I was moved by the way given objects become the extension of their givers and how nostalgia is often grounded by some yearning more elusive.”

Pocket Knife
by Bruce Willard

     How it rode
     closed, unopened

     close to the sensitive
     parts of me

     more than 20
     years. Passed

     from my father
     the promise

     it might open
     a letter or splice

     a line or connect
a pair of speakers.
     How the coppery arteries
bared of insulation

     paired to terminals
     might swell with sound

     and fill the quiet rooms
     of what could be

     a home.

Poem copyright © 2018 Bruce Willard.