Sally Albiso

Two Poems

The Cutlery Speaks in Its Defense


Though I admit to piercing
the vulnerable center of meat,
tines leaving bite marks like teeth,
it’s the knife that slices to bone,
the spoon that cups what bleeds,
resting cool in the mouth as a lie.
Yet you use me to describe a snake’s tongue,
any divergence of river or road
that offers a confusing choice,
or the surrendering of something valuable—
metaphors damaging as my co-defendants
glinting smugly in the drawer.


I deny fork’s claims, for I can’t cut
without its spearing, my edge dull
compared to other blades.
Often I don’t sever at all,
but help gather food scattered on a plate
like the mind’s disparate thoughts—
each grain of rice, every pea
reflected in my parallel course,
a mirror of what’s swallowed.
I am smooth as a throat,
urging the separate toward consensus
while seldom breaching any lips.


All day I hear fork’s stabbing voice,
knife’s level retort, protesting
to the silver in its velvet-lined box,
a jury of twelve place settings.
They would judge us for our daily consumption,
though gluttons, too, when employed,
and I the least among them,
my rounded bowl that only cradles,
shaped for a baby’s mouth,
for succoring the old—
even fork and knife innocent
until gripped by your ruthless hands. 

The Cutlery Speaks in Its Defense first appeared in 2011 Reading for Hunger Relief.

Light and Silence

How the deaf trace their days,
fingers signaling like fireflies,

and the blind lean into their own night,
shuffling forward like time. A man

employs his white cane, moves it
back and forth, as if dowsing for water,

parts the bus aisle’s dense liquidity
while two girls sign to each other,

their language of light and silence,
inscribed on pages of air. The blind man

sits behind them, lifts his face
toward their gesturing, as if he listens

for sounds their fingers shape,
their mute shadow-play

like the probing dialogue of his cane,
ears not the only instruments 

to echo the heart’s drumming,
eyes not the only way of seeing. 

What the blind and deaf might teach me
as I sway mutely in and out of shadow:

how to cup solitude in my hands,
move beyond my own darkness.

Sally Albiso is a Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize and The Comstock Review’s Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award. Her poems have appeared in Blood Orange Review, Cascade, Crab CreekReview, Floating Bridge Review, Pontoon: an anthology of Washington State poets, Rattle, and The Comstock Review. She was awarded the Camber Press Poetry Chapbook Award for her chapbook, Newsworthy, published in 2009.  In 2011, she won the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award for her poem, “Constellation.” You can read it at:


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