Cutting Soft Fruit || Kendra Mills

My friend has cut himself again for Christmas
and I recall his stories of a knife
locking into the bones of his knuckle.

I’ve only been cut badly once
and I am fascinated by the severing of things—

The round lethal saw blades,
that burn the wood when I use them
too quickly,
leaving scorches to be sanded away,
and frighten me ever since
I saw my father cut his hand years ago,
now a watercolor memory,
so faded it is myth.

And scalpels, shining,
slithering through living skin.

Or finally the kitchen knife
(we only have one)
which saws its way clumsily
through stale bread and chicken skin
and falls heavily through the hearts of carrots,
splitting them lengthwise and bare.

But what I love most is cutting soft fruit,
like papaya, or plum, or even cantaloupe,
with a gentle, sweet line,
dividing the flesh from the skin,
languid and precise.

I am hurting no one
and I think the fruit has more flavor,
cut open with a knife.


Kendra Mills graduated from the American University of Paris. Her poetry has been published in Glacial Erratic, Junto Magazine, Flagler Review, and Oyster River Pages.


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