Riley Michael Parker’s piece “Silver Dagger” is in the latest issue of Pank, and it breathes new death into an old standard. The tune was cycling through my head as I read, and as I waited for thwarted love to surface, I had no idea who might wield the silver dagger, or for what purpose. I was not disappointed. Parker’s prose is pointed, economical, and surprising.
“My daddy is a handsome devil
He’s got a chain five miles long
And on every link a heart does dangle
Of another maid he’s loved and wronged.
Go court another tender maiden
And hope that she will be your wife
For I’ve been warned and I’ve decided
To sleep alone all of my life.”
– Silver Dagger (American Folk Song)