by Deborah Flanagan



All night a knife sleeps in the sand,
next to a monk eating an onion
in the desert. The knife slices
through the onion’s delusions.
The monk extracts knives
of various shapes and sizes from
his chest, throat, shoulder;
wipes off each one, dabs at the blood.
He is so hard on himself.
The knife understands:
its blade a soft outer jacket
of steel wrapped around
a core of harder steel.
The monk gives the knife
to the best sushi chef in Japan,
the highest form of sacrifice.
The sushi master’s children
never smile, but his cats do.
The knife feelsĀ 
a little incident of pleasure,
delicately slicing the fish.




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