A Knife

Barney Norris


When the blade slashed back
and skinned his knuckle
while he walked the track

from the holiday home
to Borrisoleigh, he tried
to suck up the foam

of blood that came.
He was carving
a whistle from a stem

of vetch, and dropped
the stalk to hide the pain
in his stropped

finger. Dad made it look
easy, and he’d checked
the plant in a book,

but his hands weren’t right.
The finger, dark where it had
opened like tilled

soil, turned grey. Mum
noticed a few days later
while they played pool. ‘How come

you didn’t say?’ she asked
when it opened as he potted
a red. He clasped

the wound. ‘I didn’t know.’
They didn’t take the knife,
and the wound healed, slow.

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