about the author

Nick McKnight is from the smallest state. A college graduate, painter and poet, he is a teacher of children and adults. He likes to paint and write and teach. Living in Rhode Island, he facilitates learning to youth by means of writing and art. This is not a mistake.

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Love in Six Parts

Nick McKnight


This is what it looks like from the inside.
Look out from the corner shop picture window,
see it backwards. Watch it sit there, a gleaming
fruit, spilling onto the street like a car crash,
welcoming rubbernecks with their rubber throats,
begging you to melt
in that moment before the bulb burns out.


This is how it feels under a hundred pounds of
drums. An avalanche of beating hearts. Touch
your chest and feel its open mouth.
Your chest is an accordion, each
fold is a cracked lip, made of distance,
smacked open, made of tongues, twisted closed.
And this is how
it feels to jump through glass houses. Pull shards
out from your teeth, the ones in your intake,
make love with the mailbox,
give them away like virginity
or advice.


This is what it tastes like on your pink tongue.
Tart and salivating. Chew on the lean cut of it.
You’ve been here before.
Swallow it like expired milk, or the morning light,
or a hornet’s nest.


This is what it smells like just before the harvest.
The petrichor in autumn. Its wet, ripe flavor
wafting into the air like a chocolate factory going
out of business, giving out free samples.


This is how it sounds in a downpour.
In a downpour.
In a downpour.
How it sounds in a whisper mistaken for a rain
stick. How it crunches soft in your ears like
white noise or how it cackles loud like
a chalkboard screech.


This is how it falls asleep in the bathtub,
forgetting to scrub itself.
This is how you hold it in your collar
when it’s a velvet noose.
This is how it breaks into your house
to steal clocks from your skin.
This is how it inhales like a
newborn opening its eyes.
This is when it exhales brightest,
in that moment before the fire burns clean.

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