on my shelf next to my bullet lipstick is a swiss army knife
it has a bottle opener, a screwdriver, a thing that takes out corks, in case i feel posh enough to buy wine that costs more than a fiver; it also has a convenient nail file,
and a blade shorter than my shortest pair of heels sharper than the knives in my kitchen i keep it on my vanity, sometimes picking it up instead of my eyeliner pen and feeling its weight in my hand
“i want you to take this with you on a night out, and keep it in your bag if you have lectures until after dark.” my father says at the back of my head. “i have a gift for you” the man who in the same breath gave his dainty daughter a pretty necklace and a knife
happy graduation. don’t go out without it. also, a flashlight in case of emergencies, and a portable phone charger, don’t leave home without it so i know that he misses me when i am out of the country, in his own way, worrying about how i’ll be getting about in that infuriating man-way of not saying it
it’s next to a bottle of perfume he gave me my brother asked when he’ll be getting a knife of his own, and my father said “you don’t need one to get about town alone.”
Thea Nikolova is a writer and academic based in North East England, currently working in news and media, and due to start a PhD in English Literary Studies in October 2020. She has BA in English language and creative writing from Lancaster University, where she frequently performed her poetry, and an MA in English Literature from Durham University. Her work has appeared in Cake Literary Journal and the Stonecoast Review, while her academic writing has been recognized at multiple conferences. Her poetry explores themes of womanhood and identity in a global world.