A Dull Knife By Marie Anzelone

A Dull Knife

I am profoundly sad today.

   Shadows grew longer, overnight

and the odor of autumn

  can be discerned in the final

glowing embers of summer’s inferno.

  The house, it seems

already smells of winter-

   stale rooms and stagnant air

heavy with pernicious glances

   as we stalk each other like cats

through spaces inhabited

       by dreams of commonality,

now worn common by familiarity.

And I cry, seemingly, for all things today.

   The grief of unwed turtles

preparing for hibernation, I own.

   Plus the tears of plovers

 adding salt to the ocean, as the birds

   set their gaze on eroding shorelines


Chief Joseph said, “My heart is sick and sad”

   and I know what he meant.

Each measured breath only reminds me

       I am closer to my last.

  I ponder old people lost in their minds

         and children with no futures;

and I think my nation has decided, we no longer

  will stand to be counted.

 I think…

     …maybe it is more than one summer

that is dying.

I have been told,

    some tears are prayers.

But I no longer feel the presence

of anything but my own thoughts

    in mine.

How does one return to the sacred?

I long to split this skin open

      with my own hand,

to escape its smothering confines

    to become larger than my limitation

more than my Self

      Live three times at once,

blaze my comet across this world’s sky.

    I would catalog dreams in ounces

if I thought the process had merit;

 but this knife appears too dull for cutting-

       my words are too short

to reach an audience,

       and they die lonely deaths each day;

like this summer coming to close.

I can see this desire’s demise

    in each crumbling road repaired

a little less each year,

    and in every wise elderly matron

      left by neighbors

to wither away in the loneliness

   of the obsolete,

  her pleas for a single listener

patted away by gentle but firm hands

   “there there- just drink your tea,

           we’ll come back tomorrow.”

And when I am honest

   while counting heartbeats,

in the still terror of the night

     the decayed sickly sweet

      smell of uselessness

is the scent on the winter breeze,

            and it scares me

     into sadness.

By Marie Anzelone


Marie Anzalone currently splits her time between residences in New England and upstate NY in the United States and Guatemala in Central America. Originally from Appalachian Pennsylvania, she spent her early years studying ecology and nature first-hand in the woods around her home. She is an artist, scientist, writer, economics master’s degree candidate, avid outdoorswoman and start-up director of an international development non-profit organization. She has been published in human rights journals, scientific journals, and poetry anthologies. She writes fiction and non-fiction in both English and Spanish. She attempts in her writing to bridge the gap between real world influence and the individual’s inner journey to find spirit and meaning. Anzalone released two collections of poetry in 2014. Her debut collection is called A Pilgrimage in Epistles:: Poems as Letters and Observations. Her sophomore offering is titled Peregrinating North-South Compass Points: Poems in English and Spanish.

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