Poetry: Tracey Knapp

In the Shape of a Man

Nothing short of delicious
was the case. A sense of
midgetry informed the piece,
a smallish whip of mousse
atop the cute forehead.
I ate the feet first,
his green shoes a smart
mint taste. My tongue
shivered fresh. I liked
the buttons best, a metallic
look and hard to bite.
I didn’t lose a tooth.
After the arms and waist,
crumbs scattered
over my new suede.
Still, I relished the final parts,
the look on his face.

Told Me So

today I will consider your point about the lemon
how it stops the opened flesh of fruit from spoiling
how its rind keeps the leaves of basil soft in the freezer

there’s always something I could do better
like the way I hold cats or clean the bathtub
but I’m not concerned with every improvement

the lesson I had was about splinters
if you ignore them how they fester
and the electrocution of walking on them

but you got so impatient with my tweezers
I could never get it out and then
it was my fault at the doctor’s

you were right about envelopes
and everything you said on fruit flies
has proven to be true

you did admit the old adage of
absence makes the heart is total crap
we can agree on that together

I have said before I listen best in situations
of great tension such as I am right and you are wrong
or I don’t like old salad I don’t care what you say

and there I am later buying lemons
squeezing them over lettuce then waiting
for the leaves to wilt in spite of myself


Blossom or knot, the gather
of petal or cord contains an inner
layer, a fold dark as fist. As if a lesson
in privacy, the strays cluster under cars
in the snow, their tails flickering
at the wheels. Two lovers whisper
within the tent of their covers.
Too coiled to say these are my hands,
these are my toes
. This inextricable
bind implies some kind of interior
entente. So often we go where we cannot
see parts of ourselves: in every fissure,
you’ll find two walls tight and close.
Always the line is black, some pressure
pushing together or pulling apart.
That close, you never know.

TRACEY KNAPP’s work has appeared in MiPoesias, Unpleasant Event Schedule, Failbetter, La Petite Zine, Painted Bride Quarterly, Sewanee Theological Review and elsewhere. She lives in Somerville, MA.

(c) copyright, Tracey Knapp, 2005; author retains all rights.