How Do I Know You Wouldn’t Stab Me?

                                    question asked by Paul Lee  

A weapon is never far from the hand;
not one knife, discarded in a weedy wood,
or the other, poor evidence
of menace to a steak
but slippery with blood.

Reality keeps to a quiet corner:
long stretches of nothing
going on, then minor scuffles,
shuffling of achy feet.

Confession: I once thought violence
the lone authentic thing I ever did.

Come, shake my hand.
Prove no blade waits in it.
Feel my powerful softness 
wrapped around bone.

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble. His seventh collection, Tell Us How to Live, is forthcoming in 2024 from Fernwood Press.