Standing Here at the Cutting Board
I picked up the knife she had dropped,
a long knife,
a quite ordinary kitchen knife but sharp,
good for slicing bread, carving roasts,
Cutting cucumbers, and chopping onions,
an all-purpose knife,
but heavy, especially in hands that were
shaky to begin with. Sharper than
the steak knives that too often
Did not slice or cut at all but tore,
they were so dull.
There were tears in her eyes and not just
from the onions. A cut like the one
she’d given herself doesn’t hurt at first,
But in a while begins to throb
and to ache,
and the blood keeps coming,
from under the too-thin, too-narrow
bandage, which is not sufficient.
Why do I go on living, she wanted to know,
looking at me.
Here I am, standing here at the cutting board,
like a dummy, with not enough strength
to open a jar of pickles. Why do I bother,
I don’t even like pickles. Slicing off
the tip of my finger
was not an accident, but a wish to draw
blood, to feel something, anything,
after days and weeks of feeling nothing,
Unable to climb out of the hole I’m in,
You try your best, I know,
but sometimes it is not enough.