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The Poet's Corner

Discerning Silver


My grandfather bears a pocketknife

in the same pocket, every day.

Which: right or left?

More instinct or ritual?

Unconscious or holy?

My father stashes a multitool

hidden in the depths of a dresser

full of discerning silver

wrapped in a leather case.

Forgotten, but still cared for, protected

in its imposed hibernation.

He forks it over to

my reluctant hands.

I fear its bite into my skin

for I am all bark,

only newly accustomed

to these teeth.

So I admire without opening

wary of approaching it from behind,

of finding its unease

sinking into my flesh.

I quickly shove my palms

deep into my jeans

with just as many pockets

as my grandfather’s.

Leo Burchell is a senior in high school whose poems often revolve around themes of family, identity, and gender. He was named the Bucks County High School Poet of the Year in 2022. His work has been featured in The Incandescent Review and Footprints on Jupiter.

Poet’s Corner is curated by Bucks County Poet Laureate Tom Mallouk and supported by a grant to the Bucks County Herald Foundation made possible by Marv and Dee Ann Woodall.

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