Oh, my poor, broken kitchen shears. After 25+ years of hard time, the central bolt just rusted into dust.
I’d like to eulogize my kitchen workhorse with a poem.
By Christianne Balk
This division must end.
Again I’m forced to amputate
the chicken’s limb; slit the joint,
clip the heart, snip wing from back,
strip fat from flesh, separate
everything from itself. I’m used,
thrown down by unknown hands,
by cowards who can’t bear to do
pinions gripped by strangers. I fear
the grudge things must hold.
I slice rose from bush, skin from muscle,
head from carrot, root from lettuce,
tail from fish. I break the bone.
What if they join against me,
uncouple me, throw away one-half,
or hide my slashed eye? Or worse,
what if I never die? What I fear
most is being caught, then rusted rigid,
punished like a prehistoric
bird, fossilized, and changed
into a winged lizard, trapped while clawing
air, stuck in stone with open beak.
from Bindweed, 1985; Macmillan Press. Copyright 2001 by Christianne Balk.
All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission
Christianne Balk’s books include Desiring Flight (Purdue University Press) and Bindweed (Macmillan Press, Walt Whitman Award) where “The Kitchen Shears Speak” first appeared. Christianne’s poems have also been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Alhambra Poetry Calendar, Cirque, Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, and other journals and anthologies. See christiannebalk.com.