knife work

March 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

at company picnics
I would watch
my father stick

one slippery clam
after the other
shucking between sips

of his Genny pounder
he’d take one from ice,
pocket knife

slipped between shells
then a twist,
never once dropping one

or injuring
a finger or thumb
in doing this –
truth is

I can barely handle
something as unassuming
as a dry bagel

without nearly performing
Yibitsume right there
at the morning

kitchen island,
always expecting to wrap
a stub protruding
from my hand

with a napkin
and masking tape
as would my old man,

if ever
the blade
makes its way
to a place
it ain’t meant to

(c) 2014 Fred Whitehead


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