Nadia Arioli: On “The Fourteen Daggers” by Kay Sage

(You can view Sage’s painting “The Fourteen Daggers” here)



On “The Fourteen Daggers” by Kay Sage

All the prosaic thin places you will visit
are before you. The places where reality
shifts a bit to the right like a staircase
or fourteen daggers that fail to kill you.

A movie theater in a foreign city
where you are alone. You sit in front
of the projector directly. A story bounces
around your head. A laundromat,
any time, any place. Things are getting
clean without you.

The tobacco store where the man
with thick glasses coughs a little worse
each year. A gas station with maps
of the Midwest for sale. The state-lines
look menacing. The old ship,
below deck, where buckets cluster
like drippy ulcers.

A smaller place is your mouth after
your first nosebleed. You saw what happened
to your teeth when you smiled for the mirror.
When you were a teenager, you filled your palms
with wet bees for the watery shudder.

The eighth dagger is you.
O my Angelica root,
O my toothy abortion.

I will not say what the other six are.
I can’t even see the last. Perhaps
it is shaped like a gun.

If a third were to see us,
they would know which was you
and which was I.
I am the beginning, you are the middle
and more like a knife.

But perhaps we are in each other’s houses
now, switched like interpreting a dream badly.
The waiting room was the thinnest place.
My breasts are scalloped like fingernails.



About the Author: Nadia Arioli (nee Wolnisty) is the founder and editor in chief of Thimble Literary Magazine. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spry, SWWIM, Apogee, Penn Review, McNeese Review, Kissing Dynamite, Bateau, Heavy Feather Review, Whale Road Review, SOFTBLOW, and others. They have chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective, Dancing Girl Press, and a full-length from Spartan.


More by Nadia Arioli:

On “I Walk Without Echo” by Kay Sage

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