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Innocuous

Alice White | Poetry

Please allow me this one poem—

I need to know why
she keeps those scissors
with which her son slit his wrists, trims her bangs with them.
To dull the weapon with use?

Maybe the difference is he lived. If you had, maybe knives
would just be knives.

Please allow me this one poem,
no matter how many times I write it.

I’m trying to find a closing couplet to frame what you did,
but I’d take any end.
There are so many ways

to make an exit.

Swallow a bottle of pills.
Let the engine run in the garage. Something more peaceful, if just for those of us trying to live—

Please allow me this. All I’m saying is

I’d rather be afraid of
carbon monoxide than the blade of even the little wooden knife in my daughter’s play kitchen.

Vapor. Odorless, invisible. Innocuous as a ghost. I could face your ghost,
I think, if its heart were intact.