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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