Renn Ireigh

I hid it in my underwear drawer

under piles of socks and pantyhose,

but it came too close to being found out.

Under the mattress was too common,

there were no convenient rafters

and fewer loose boards;

paranoia covered the floors in rough carpet against this eventuality.

If I put it in the closet, I could never find it after;

if I kept it with me, they'd find me in jail.

It's illegal without a license, and

no one's granting one to a fifteen-year-old;

there aren't enough to spare

of these licenses to kill.

I keep it in a box now.

On the outside it is wooden and wolf-enamelled,

but the inside is perfect: dark velvet lining

a fitting resting place,

an appeasement

to the steel's dark-alley potential.

If the sheath were less utilitarian

it could look royal,

but the sheath's nylon.

There is no reason for

a workmanlike dagger

to be ostentatious.

Maybe it was psychology that made me concede

to trading crisp bills for sharp edges;

I'm sure someone will later say that

I was plotting fratricide, homicide, suicide.

In suburban homes plagued by prozac pills,

such a dagger is misunderstood.

I wish I could have hung it on my wall,

but then it might as well have been a noose.

They'd lock the kitchen drawers and take my dagger away.

But look at it: it's shining,

it's live steel, it's beautiful.

Its threat is its glory.

Give me my dagger any day, rather than

the guns in the closet, and

the bullets on the downstairs shelf.

But hush- don't tell.

It'll be our little secret.