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I recall the day she tore through me,

squalling anger long into the tiny night.

Later I found dried blood under her tired fingernails,

As if she’d dug her long way out.


Now she’s three and once again demanding

Independence— her fingers work

the buttons of her pajama top, slap

my helping hand.


She insists on cutting her own fruit

with a dull knife, sawing melon

and bitter green banana. Smiling

at her messy work, I yearn for a slip


of the blade, a slice of her thumb

and a bright bloom of blood. I’d take it

to my mouth, pressed hard against my teeth.

The tongue remembers well the first taste,

keeps it in the back of the throat.


The LA Review, Spring 2011


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