The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: a falling knife has no handle by Emily O’Neill


smack me so hard I’m a toothache / enforcing
myself, a victor over savage time / give me
one glass of brut & everything else
give me nothing that might fin you or make this saltier
Gloucester / can you see the harbor
on me anymore / or that savage snifter
size of a lampshade / Shahir sparked
a strike anywhere match & singed
sense to a faint smell / my hair
so long now but still blue / we eat
& eat these animal piles then climb down
into the warmth of it / how much we tartare
how much we pretend no one sees us leave
raise our eyebrows / laugh as though
we’ve had each other for breakfast more times

than you drink / coffee to wake up / three cups until
you vibrate through the shift, laughing
one clipped shout / tell me to ask for cold brew
tell me Cynar or cider or whatever
fruit you spend on an empty afternoon / just yellow
peppers just Italy / along your lineless forehead
where have I been that you remember / what do you taste
when I round my mouth / kiss, a kind of chef’s table
your friends can see me faking / how I always shake
with two hands / a politician / you bite your lip
the Christmas orange / chug from a bottle
of chartreuse / ask who noticed our cab, our hands
our table / full of more plates than we can handle
confidently / I keep the secret by not speaking
the bartender brings bone broth in the most beautiful pot
then pours / the onions
& the chanterelles are still alive
when you swallow

This selection comes from the poetry collection, a falling knife has no handle, available from YesYes Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Tierney Bailey.

Emily O’Neill teaches writing and tends bar in Cambridge, MA. Her second poetry collection, a falling knife has no handle, was released with YesYes Books in fall of 2018 and was one of Publishers Weekly‘s ten most anticipated poetry titles of the season. It was also longlisted for the Julie Suk Award from Jacar Press.  Her debut poetry collection, Pelican, was the inaugural winner of YesYes Books’ Pamet River Prize for women and genderqueer writers, as well as the winner of the 2016 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Series in Poetry. O’Neill is also the author of five chapbooks, most recently You Can’t Pick Your Genre (2nd edition Big Lucks, 2019). Her recent poems, stories, and essays have appeared in The Best Indie Lit New England Anthology, CutbankCatapultRedividerSalt Hill, and Washington Square, among many others. She holds a degree in the synesthesia of storytelling from Hampshire College.
Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Currently, Tierney is an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, and a freelance graphic designer. Tierney earned a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Tierney is most easily found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. 

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