“Channellock Pliers” by Amy Miller

Amy Miller


They came in a box
Dad gave me one Christmas,
nestled among the level
and awl and putty knife
and changeable screwdriver
and wire cutters and tin snips.
I went home and weighed
each in my hand and finally
put the Channellocks
under my pillow,
their heft just right
for splitting a skull
in a blind swing
out of a startled sleep.
I never told my father
this. Their handles
dipped in red rubber still hush
their clank when I hold them
in the night.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets

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Amy Miller: “I’ve been turned down for jobs because I was a woman. I’ve been sexually harassed at work and on the street. Men have exposed themselves to me in parking lots, public parks, and my own driveway. I’ve been in relationships where I was expected to cook because I was the only person in the house with ovaries. I’ve cut hikes short because the trail got too desolate; I walk with pepper spray in supposedly safe neighborhoods. And none of this is uncommon—ask any woman. I don’t know how you can be alive in the world today and not be a feminist.” (website)

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