Poem 2

THE BUTCHER’S APPRENTICE                     Hawai’i Pacific Review, 2006

First he showed him how to hold the cleaver, where to make the best cut, said to keep his eye on the meat’s grain, hold the blade steady, and how beautifully the meat opened on the maple chopping block, gracious host to its own body, the apprentice wiping his bloodied hands across his heavy cotton apron; his sigh, such finesse, a sigh a lover might make, satisfied before ultimate pleasure—but, no climax here, only the calm of knowing one did the other body right, and can’t you tell that the one being trained seeks the best advice to finish meat, especially since fine butchery is nearly extinct, for why else would the Master train the hand coming back to fingers, to opening, carefully at first, the red flesh that was once desire.

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