Hone

In those days we left doors open
with no thought to danger. Anyone
could wander in— the neighbors,

their children, chickens in the yard,
the woman who came by once a month
to ask if we had old newspapers

to sell. The boy who walked past
with tin pails of duck eggs or bean curd;
the man who repaired umbrellas and offered

to sharpen garden shears and kitchen knives.
When did we learn to let them in, answer
the door, but keep an eye open? I have

a drawer full of blades, gleaming,
not yet dulled from daily use— I cleave
the onion from its stalk, fillet gristle

from bone, gut gills from limp fish bodies.
Here are points that could whistle past your ear,
thread a swift line thin as a hair to the opposite wall.

 

In response to small stone (232).

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