Poet of an Ordinary Heartbreak

Chris Abani on

Published in Poem Of The Day

Who hasn't been tempted by the sharp edge of a knife?
An ordinary knife cutting ordinary tomatoes on
an ordinary slab of wood on an ordinary Wednesday.
The knife nicks, like a bite to the soul. A reminder
that what is contemplated is as real as the blood
sprouting from a finger. As real as a bruised eye.
Instead turn back to the meat stewing on the stove.
Scrape pulpy red flesh into the heat and turn.
Say: even this is a prayer. Even this.

About this poem
"I wrote this poem from the point of view of my mother. There were sometimes difficult moments between my parents, and I have since wondered how she mediated her pain and anger and what I would have done. It is really about the fact that our most ordinary moments are often poised on the edge of a very deep abyss and that only an uneasy grace keeps us from going over the edge."
-Chris Abani

About Chris Abani
Chris Abani is the author of "There Are No Names for Red" (Red Hen Press, 2010), illustrated by Percival Everett, and "Sanctificum" (Copper Canyon Press, 2010). He is a board of trustees professor of English at Northwestern University.

The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.

(c) 2015 Chris Abani. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate




blog comments powered by Disqus


Andy Capp For Better or For Worse Bill Bramhall Mike Peters Bizarro Lee Judge