Cutting Apples

by Sasha Dugdale

Cutting Apples

This morning I sat and cut apples.
I cut them into four, and then I nicked each part
And brought my knife around the curve.

And through long practice I kept my thumb 
Up tight against the blade, and when I twisted
The blade inside each quarter it returned to my thumb.

And the quarters I put into the pan with lemon
And the peel and corners of apples I heaped on the board.
There was a silence. My thoughts wandered.

I thought about absence, which so hates to be considered
It throws the thoughts back out like thieves
And bolts the door behind them.

More and more my thoughts besieged his hovel
Tarred wooden shelter on the beach,
Again and again the thoughts came limping 

Black-eyed, dented, tossed by the inhospitable
Absence, back to me at my cutting board
To be dispatched again with an oath

I want to know, says the despot mind
What this place is, what is inside the home
Of absence? Where are my best men?

I sent my best thoughts, the ones I keep
To guard me through the dark hours
They too came reeling and bloodied back   

At last my youngest thought came to me
Father says he, let me try, where others failed
Let me enter the house of absence

Whatever knowledge it might contain
I will fight for it and bring it home 
And off he flew, my most recent thought

Who came to the home of absence
And found the door wide open
Swinging like a thumb on a knife blade

He fell in love with absence
And threatens now to return forever
He is betrothed and thinks of nothing else