The Knife Woman

Allison Funk

after Louise Bourgeois’s Femme-Couteau (1969-70)

On a bad day she feels the ache                of having been,as if she’s become a phantom limb. Then it starts, serrated wave                after wave,everything dangerous, bladed: the keen edge of a stair,                 a pill bottle’s rim,her plane about to go down behind enemy lines                or into a wildernessin which ready, set, even the arrows of trees                are taking their aim.What she needs is a survival knife, but missing this,                she thinks of the sea starin extremis, a creature that can regrow an arm,                and the sculptorwho, nearly done for, carves a likeness                out of marbleto sheathe herself.

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Allison Funk is the author of five books of poems, including her most recent, Wonder Rooms, from Free Verse Editions in 2015. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as rewards from the Poetry Foundation (Chicago), the Poetry Society of America, and the Society of Midland Authors. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry; Poetry; the Paris Review; and the Cincinnati Review, among other publications. She is Professor Emerita at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Free Verse

Issue 29

Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina State University

Editor: Jon Thompson

Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics is a bi-annual electronic journal that focuses on publishing the finest free verse being written today. While the journal aims to provide a forum for the wide variety of poetic experiments and work in various poetic traditions in the United States at present, Free Verse also invites English language submissions from outside North America.

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