Cook's Work
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

She could pare apples and oranges
in a continuous spiral.
Skin slipped away from flesh,
obedient to her will.
I watched,
longing to learn how
a paring knife
with a simple brown handle
could separate
protective rind from
vulnerable juiciness,
could tear pocked yellow skin
from poultry parts,
could saw gristle from beef,
even as
my soul served
as her tongue's whetstone,
my severed dreams
falling at her feet,
thrown out with
apple cores
and bruised spots
she cut from bananas.

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