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A Knife and a Gun
By Nathaniel Goldberg
Copyright 2000 Nathaniel Goldberg
A poem about the writer having a knife and a gun at fourteen.
When I was fourteen
I bought a Bowey knife
on Forty-Second Street
for thirteen dollars
It had a twelve-inch
blade and sparkled like glass in sunlight.
It had a soft leather
sheath and I tucked it
in my pants. I carried
it everywhere I went
running my fingers along
its blade, swinging it about
cutting the bellies of
invisible adversaries who
dared taunt me.
At night I hid it in
the false bottom of
my trumpet case in the attic,
a place where my father
would never find it.
He had found everything
else I ever tried to
hide from him. When Bobby Serrato
saw my knife, he had to own it.
When I saw the 38-caliber
pearl-handled revolver with two bullets
he had stolen the week before
from a house on the Esplanade,
I had to own that.
I hid the gun in the false bottom
of my trumpet case in the attic.
A day later Deluka threw
a rock against my window. I ran
upstairs and pulled off
a round out the attic window.
The noise cracked the silence
shaking the walls.
Deluka bought the gun
for twenty-five dollars.
That night my mother took
me into the study and
asked me what I had done
with the gun.
I told her I sold it.
She made me give
the money back to Deluka.
He gave me back the gun.
I gave the gun to Bobby.
Bobby gave me the knife.
My father found the knife.