He was a jewel of selflessness before there was a moon. That’s how I thought of him when I saw his moves. Such coolness, too, in his movie-speak when he jostles with the clerks at Blockbuster! My friends congratulate me for finding such a catch. “Oh, he’s a smooth one!” they’d say to me. My BF recalls the wide river of his past and reduces it to a street when he was five. “Something bright is shining there,” is a seven-syllable line from his haiku-in- progress. When he comes home, he’ll tell me something important that I probably know already.
There is always control. The knife comes fast. If I were philosophic, I’d say that it’s an ability to see things plainly. His throwing hand is precise, severe in its effectiveness, almost cruel. These days, our gigs fly by. How to slow things down is what I can’t ask him. What can he do to make our job feel more than what it is? What can a knife thrower say that would make me less fictive? The knife’s destiny is not tied to mine. I smile to a gasping audience, my image is exact and without fanfare.
What slips away might be the very thing I need to keep. I should have been a tree, spellbound, a discontented woman clinging to the earth. I am a target girl, a hole in the tree where you pucker up, or whisper. Gods don’t ask for my name. I’m just given one and told to say yes and yes and sometimes no.
-Eugene Gloria (Putnam County)
[First appeared in Superstition Review, No. 3 (Spring 2009)]
Eugene Gloria’s most recent collection is My Favorite Warlord (Penguin 2012) and he has poems forthcoming in Shenandoah and the Best American Poetry 2014. “Notes from my Lovely Assistant” first appeared in Superstition Review. He teaches English literature and creative writing at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!