The Bitch in the Kitchen

My mother told me that men are like onions

tough on the outside—thick

 

layers of grit, dirt, earth, skin—

but sever that shell and they’re soft,

 

malleable, so bitter they’re almost sweet,

a sting that brings tears and an aftertaste

 

heavy on your tongue. I am a woman.

 

I chop celery and potatoes. I boil water. I trim

the fat off chicken breasts.

 

There is a red pot on the stove. A linen napkin

folded on the wooden table. A glass of ice water

 

sweating on its coaster. My hands are bare and raw.

I do not wear an apron. I sharpen my knives.

 

Press the blade into papery-thin skin.

Slice layer upon layer.

 

And I set the table for one.

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