Tag Archives: Sarah Bean

If You Give a Girl a Pocket Knife

By Sarah Bean

The night we slept in a tent full of stars,
I learned how to use a knife.
How to hold it in my palm, just so,
how to slowly carve layers of life away,
revealing newborn green hidden from onlookers. 

The night we drank the sky’s tears,
I learned how to get in touch with roots.
How to connect to the soil and
facilitate rebirths.
Learned how to sharpen myself to a point,
to turn my canines deadly,
bite back at girl-shaped wolves, 
puncture jugulars to learn my left and right,
my soup spoon a sword.

The night we set the world on fire,
I learned how to tie knots in my tongue to keep from combusting.
How to fashion it around my prepubescent wrist,
lick my own wounds and develop a taste for salt. 
Learned that safety comes with silence, 
and that my knife couldn’t leave the grove.
Found a blade of grass for the trip home, 
kept the handle held in the back of my mind.

The night I buried myself in the forest, 
I learned how to wield a dagger made of flowers.
How to stick it in my bosom for safe keeping, 
to whittle myself down, cut off my offshoots, 
scrape off my bark.
To be just big enough to fit in wheel wells—
to be seen and not heard.

In that tent full of stars,
I learned how to use a knife.
How to ward off enemies in a fighting stance,
firmly planted and prepared,
and I earned the badge for best technique.


Sarah Bean (she/her) is a library technician and poet from Alberta, Canada. So far, her poetry has only appeared in zines that she photocopies at her local public library. She thanks you for being gentle.