KNIFE



And now, the facts

about my pocket knife.

Factus, the Latin past

participle, a thing done


in the Arena, say:

Spartacus went over the top,

looking like Kirk Douglas.

Between his gleaming teeth


he clenched the gladius,

the short thruster and slasher

Rome gave him leave to fall on, later.

But he refused: I saw it all,


and see it now: half-closed, my knife’s

a dwarf’s entrenching tool---or else

a shiny-billed, small toucan,

Ramphastos discolorus,


of whom the sweaty conquistadores

executed not a few,

on account of its loud and

mocking call.