Wouldbelove, do not think of me as a whetstone 
until you hear the whole story: 

In it, I’m not the hero, but I’m not the villain either 
so let’s say, in the story, I was human 

and made of human-things: fear 
and hands, underbelly and blade. Let me 

say it plain: I loved someone 

and I failed at it. Let me say it 
another way: I like to call myself wound

but I will answer to knife. Sometimes 
I think we have the same name, Notquitelove. I want 

to be soft, to say here is my underbelly and I want you 
to hold the knife, but I don’t know what I want you to do: 

plunge or mercy. I deserve both. I want to hold and be held.   

Let me say it again, Possiblelove: I’m not sure 
you should. The truth is: If you don’t, I won’t

die of want or lonely, just time. And not now, not even 
soon. But that’s how every story ends eventually. 

Here is how one might start: Before. The truth? 
I’m not a liar but I close my eyes a lot, Couldbelove. 

Before, I let a blade slide itself sharp against me. Look 
at where I once bloomed red and pulsing. A keloid 

history. I have not forgotten the knife or that I loved 
it or what it was like before: my unscarred body 

visits me in dreams and photographs. Maybelove, 
I barely recognize it without the armor of its scars. 

I am trying to tell the truth: the dreams are how 
I haunt myself. Maybe I’m not telling the whole story: 

I loved someone and now I don’t. I can’t promise 
to leave you unscarred. The truth: I am a map 

of every blade I ever held. This is not a dream. 
Look at us now: all grit and density. What, Wouldbelove 

do you know of knives? Do you think you are a soft thing? 
I don’t. Maybe the truth is: Both. Blade and guard. 

My truth is: blade. My hands 

on the blade; my hands, the blade; my hands 
carving and re-carving every overzealous fibrous 

memory. The truth is: I want to hold your hands 
because they are like mine. Holding a knife 

by the blade and sharpening it. In your dreams, how much invitation 
to pierce are you? Perhapslove, the truth is: I am afraid 

we are both knives, both stones, both scarred. Or we will be. 

The truth is: I have made fire 
before: stone against stone. Mightbelove, I have sharpened 

this knife before: blade against blade. I have hurt and hungered 
before: flesh 

against flesh. I won’t make a dull promise.

Underbelly by Nicole Homer

Happy Sunday.

Elgar:Cello Concerto /Cello: Yo-Yo Ma 

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