Little Knives


I keep a box of little knives
Some labeled old love
Some yesterday’s painful lessons
And now some for today

The little knives are for others
To put in the soft places
Of painful memories and secret scars
They hurt; they are familiar

I’ve shown you my secret scars
I’ve opened up my box of knives,
Most of them, you leave alone
With some, you wield carelessly

Cutting and making new scars
In with all the little knives
There is a large, deadly one
Labeled distance, a separation of two

An ongoing, open wound in us
Do you know yet, about the large knife?
How well you use it, how unconsciously
Daily stab wounds in my heart
Will it grow so full of holes it breaks?

Please, put away the sharp, deadly knife
Put down the weapon of silent distance
Why won’t you talk to me about it all?
My breaking heart is killing me
Your cold silence is killing us

©1986 by JB Heston

Narcissists love to use the silent treatment as the ultimate way to punish us. Dismissing our hearts, minds and souls; punishing us but refusing to tell us what invisible line we’ve crossed or rule we’ve broken.

Wrote this poem during one of those silent treatment times in a relationship (at the time, I accepted it because I was a hot mess myself.) It wasn’t until 30 years later and re-connection that I realized just how sick the man I wrote this about actually was/still is. He is the subject of the poem “No Miracles for the  Madman.”






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