Silver Birch Press—–« We Are at War by Gina Larkin (Me, as a Child Poetry Series)

lori and eddie-2
Forks and Knives
by Lori Gravley

I’m in the kitchen,
so is he.
Angry about something
and I am there,
a place for anger to land.
I was making a sandwich.
The butter knife is smeared with
mustard and waiting on the counter.
He pulls a fork from the open drawer,
presses it into my side.

He’s finally taller than I am
I think
as he digs the fork deeper.
I wonder if my shirt will tear,
how far he’d have to push
to pierce the skin,
whether the tines of the fork
might find my stomoach.
“You’re hurting me.”
His hand jerks, a scratch on my skin.
He no longer even has to say,
“Don’t tell mom.”
Then he’s gone.
The bread is waiting,
the mustard, the tomatoes.
I stand at the counter and eat,
letting the white bread wrap
my fear and anger,
a fish bone caught in my throat,
making it easier to swallow

PHOTO: The author and her brother as children.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Forks and Knives” is a poem from Survive: A Poetic Memoir of Suicide. My brother Eddie hung himself at the age of 19 after years of struggle with drug addiction and mental illness.  You’d think that 30 years later, I wouldn’t miss him, but the loss of a sibling means the loss of memory.  My friends with brothers and sisters create their memories with their new stories of childhood. I have no one to share those stories with. This poem and the poetic memoir it comes from are an attempt to capture those memories and hold them close.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lori Gravley writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. She earned her MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has published poems and essays in a variety of journals, including Crack the Spine, Ekphrasis, Mock Turtle Zine, and more. She has work forthcoming inBurningword and I-70 Review. She lives just outside of Yellow Springs, Ohio, between a meadow and a cornfield. “Forks and Lives” is from her work-in-progress, a poetic memoir for young adults about her brother’s suicide, Survive.

Silver Birch Press—–« We Are at War by Gina Larkin (Me, as a Child Poetry Series)
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