Amy Gerstler

A Terribly Sentimental Fork
August 9, 2014 Gerstler Amy

A Terribly Sentimental Fork


As unmined silver,

I spent eons in twilight sleep,

rubbed lustrous by seasons,

And learnt much from it.

Thumbless hand,

I’ve been jammed

into tine-bending clay

to gouge holes

for planting jasmine

when a spade wasn’t handy.

Human mistreatment

of their best inventions

led this still-handsome fork

(my classic pattern’s

known as Acanthus

or Aegean weave)

to be employed

prying up old linoleum.

Forks are mentioned

six times in the bible!

Slave of the grip, bound

to spear earthworms

or currants, I have

pedigree, nobility,

but am sans volition.

Today, the brat

in the dotted Swiss pinafore,

plagued by frequent nosebleeds,

used me to stab the cat. I am

scholar, diplomat! striving’s

elongated shape! Yet my fate

is shame. As if pitched here

by some tantrum-prone

god, I’ve lain for days

in the grass where

I was flung.

Amy Gerstler’s book of poem Index of Women will be published by Penguin Random House in April. Her previous books of poetry include Dearest Creature, Ghost Girl, Medicine, and Crown of Weeds. Her book of poems Bitter Angel received a National Book Critics’ Circle Award in 1991. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. These include The New Yorker, Poetry, Paris ReviewAmerican Poetry Review, several volumes of Best American Poetry, and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. She teaches at University of California at Irvine.