the king of knives

headlights swing across 
a two-lane highway littered with metal
and broken glass
streetlights painting rain down the road
bouncing down the buildings.

dragons wrapped around a tablecloth
fire and ice sealed into stitches
ancient powers now under the hands 
and plates
of paying customers.

my knife is unsheathed
slow and steady
trading angry blood
for cucumbers and carrots.

i watch the rain
and imagine a time
when i might’ve stood 
at the temple of heaven
looking up
to meet God
my feet planted on the circular mound
an emperor’s soul
a king’s brow
ready to lead.