“Susurration” by Lania Knight

Lania Knight


Like a snake, the belt slides
the loops, hissing down and down
again years later. Across an ocean,
an entire continent, my brother’s
heart lashes inside the walls
of his chest, pumping blood
through splitting seams. The same
strap, the one that burnt like
fire across my back—it cracks
and breaks now inside him. Our
father, the buckle in his palm,
raised his arm—I wish I could
say only once—at his children,
bellowed at the woman beside him.
A man, a boy really, he just wanted
to play ball and spit from the pitcher’s
mound. But he was our father, and he
was his father and all the fathers
before him, filled with a boy’s ache
to run. There were the women though,
the children, the moments one after
another. The fathers, they were meant
to know the answers. But they didn’t.
And I don’t. And now I have this scar,
a wound I think is healed until
the sheets slide across my back,
and I watch my lover
his belt.

from Rattle #64, Summer 2019


Lania Knight: “I’ve written fiction and nonfiction for a long time, but I didn’t start writing poetry until I moved to the United Kingdom three years ago. In that move, I gave up everything—my family, my job, my car, my cat. It was a lot to process, and poetry helped. And the poems were only for me. They didn’t have to be good. I played with language, tried things I’d never tried before. What I love about poems is when they show you ‘this is like that’ or ‘this is actually about that.’ Poems don’t have to tell a story—they can show you one moment, one idea. They can make something beautiful out of something painful. And for that, I’m grateful.” (web)

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