by Carla Schwartz

When you say

“Wouldn’t it be better if you said…”
or “I saw your disappointment and felt cornered,
since I have a natural proclivity not to hurt,”
I hear you saying, Knock it off.

The week of the marathon bombs,
we were all emotional.
The dead and injured couldn’t say Knock it off,
this was no joke.

Once, you knocked my socks off.
I might not have noticed,
but love came knocking — loud, insistent bursts.
Sometimes you encouraged me
to knock ’em dead, if my confidence waned.
Once, I knocked my ankle into a cinder block, when I fell
through a hole in your porch. Defending your house,
you knocked me down a notch, labeled me accident-prone.
You wanted to knock sense into me. Teach me
Knock it off. Your school of hard knocks.
Teacher, I have a question. Love doesn’t make sense.

When a woman accidentally becomes pregnant,
she’s knocked up. I swell up with feeling
when you tell me not to feel,
or how to feel,
or what not to say,
or, if I do say,
how to say it.

You wanted the cheap, knockoff feelings.
The Yes, sir, that’s right. Whatever you want.
Like the Walmart cashier
when you purchased a knockoff


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