What You Need to Know About Knives

by Diana Dinverno


For my wedding shower,
Mom taped a coin
to the package that held
the set of knives,
its slotted box.

She pointed to the quarter.

Hand it over.
Knives require payment,
otherwise you’ll sever
the relationship.

She believed in karma,
signs, symbols,
claimed her mother
paid her a visit
after she died.

I placed the coin
into her palm
out of love.

Which relationship?

Yes, or maybe
your marriage.
She held Washington’s profile aloft.
But we’re safe now.

She counseled
serrated-edged delicacy,
butcher blade strength,
razor-sharp utility,

how to carve out a life,

lived to see
my daughters born,
each umbilical cleanly cut,
just as it should.

Once gone, she stayed
in touch long enough
for me to tell her
when the beloved
babysitter stole
the paring knife.

Within weeks, the teenager
dropped out of school,
ran away from home,
pierced her

She didn’t leave a dime.

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