On Switchblades and Axe Handles and Love

Heart Sketch


Love is a switchblade

between your ribs

late at night

after your third date

when it dawns on you

she’s the last woman you’ll ever take to dinner,

you’ll know you’re a dead man walking

when you see blood on your hand

after pulling it from your chest.


Love is the furious tears

on your child’s hand

you’re holding to your cheek

through the beeps and chatters of a

midnight vigil beside a hospital bed

as you choke on the bitter pill

that you can’t fix him

and that love wasn’t supposed to feel

this naked

this cold.


Love is the echoes

on the back of your retinas

that you can see every time

you close your eyes

long after the darkness

swallowed the fireworks

that keep you stumbling forward

when there’s nothing left

but stubbed toes

and cussing

and hurt feelings that never seem

to get unhurt.


Love is the boots

that holds your feet fast

to no-man’s land

when your family’s the Bloods

and your family’s the Crips

and you cannot take a side,

all might be fair in love and war

but there aren’t winners in either – only

casualties and survivors,

which are two words for the same truth.


Love is the business-end of an axe handle

thrust in your gut

that robs your breath

that steals your strength

that makes you weak in the knees

and in repayment it gives

sorrow mixed with joy

until every memory is filled with both

and the only way to duck the blow

and escape the pain

is to refuse the precious wounds

only love can give.


© Jedidiah Paschall





4 thoughts on “On Switchblades and Axe Handles and Love

  1. I love it. The last two lines remind me of Proverbs 27:6, “faithful are the wounds of a friend”.

    P.S. That song just went up in my estimation after hearing Ryan’s cover. I probably heard the lyrics a little differently after reading your poem too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. And yeah, Ryan Adams’ covers bring elements out of a song that maybe the original artists didn’t even envision, the guy’s a genius. He’s in my top-5 all time favorite musicians.

    Liked by 1 person

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