Matthew Dickman

I like the inner lives of the silverware; the fork,

the spoon, the knife. I appreciate

how they each have a different reference toward

god, how the fork is Muslim,

the spoon, like a stone, is Buddhist, how the knife

is Roman Catholic—

always worried, always having

a hard time forgiving people, the knife kneeling

down in Ireland and Africa. In San Francisco

my lamp has become a temple.

Every time I turn it on the light moves out across

the room like a meditation,

like a bell or a robe

the way it covers everything and doesn’t want to

kill. Light is the husband

and everything it touches is its bride, the floor,

the wall, my body,

the bronze installation in Hayes Valley

its bride. The lamp chants

and my clothes, my hat thrown in the corner of the room

chants back: nothing, nothing. In my next life

I’ll have no fingers, no toes. In my next life I’ll be

a bougainvillea. A Buddhist monk

will wake up early on Sunday morning and not be a fork

and not be a knife, he will look down at the girl

sleeping in his bed like a body of water,

he will think about how

he lifted her up like a spoon to his mouth all night, and walk

into the courtyard and pick up the shears

and cut a little part of me, and lie me down next to her mouth

which is breathing heavily and changing all the dark in the room to light.

Found In Volume 41, No. 04
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  • Matthew Dickman
Matthew Dickman
About the Author

Matthew Dickman is the author of All-American Poem (American Poetry Review, 2008), the recipient of The Honickman First Book Prize, The May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Kate Tufts Award from Claremont College, and Mayakovsky’s Revolver (W.W. Norton & Co., 2012). He is the poetry editor of Tin House