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