Untitled (Dexter-Russel 6” Skinning Knife)
A thumb, pressing on my lip,
pulling, sharpness so soft
I cannot tell that I am being rent,
ripped open. There is a hot wind,
in-out-in, in time with the stroke
along my neck, overtop
my sternum, my heart quick.
Her hands are so warm, how
could she mean any harm?
The blade slips down
gentle with my wormling gut,
artful in its arc. It rests
at my pubic mound, sated,
Her fingers start to pry,
spring-time at the leafbud
of my skin. The knife rests
at my flank, and her
warm hands start to dig. I am
a well of dirt beneath the pressure
of her whorls and loops and arches.
She pulls me taught,
as if to bind me to the frame
of her metacarpals, a leather glove.
Her hands are better than the blade,
reaching on the underside
of me, unlatching from my meat, her
hold absolute. My chest in her grip,
so close without my epidermal armor.
I hope she will be kind,
as she has been gentle. The knife
returns. It caresses my shoulder joint,
and I give to her my feverish blood,
which only runs hotter
with her careful attentions. After,
both of us spent, my skin full flayed,
she holds it up, synecdoche & talisman.
I shiver, stripped. Her hands
are still so warm. The thousand tongues
of worms lap at me—she has made me
all open-wound, and left me here. My skin
the only thing that she could hold.
With my soft gut bare and writhing
in the mud, I feel the knife over my back
again, over the missing-thing of me. Pulling
my veins and arteries away, uncovering
the second map beneath the first. In the dirt,
I shudder. I know she will be back.