KITCHEN CUT

It’s hardly blood at alt, certainly not a gusher.   
It’s a cut on the finger
merely posing as a bullet in the heart.
And it’s from a paring knife you operate yourself,
not a shotgun wielded by a dangerous stranger.

There’s a sting but not an unreal sting
like from a buzzing yellow pool of wasps
or Flash Gordon’s Ray gun fired from a passing rocket
or a personal streak of lightning
jagged and electric just to be here.

You shake your band
but not like you’re waving down the night train
or slapping a drunken heavyweight silly.                                                
No secret journey here, no lust for
blows connecting, palookas dropping
to the kitchen floor.
You don’t want to give pain the chance to settle,
that’s all.

Your teeth are clenched
but not to take big bites from your own
pull down drapes with your jaw
to test the strength in anger.
You need the feel the tightness,
feel anything in the fact
than how you’ve harmed yourself.

But it’s not harm.
You didn’t cut your own belly open.
Nor flop on sharpened spikes,
dance with fan blades,
dunk your fist into the soul
of the belligerent machinery.

It’s just a tiny slice, a wince, an accident,
nothing that should remind you
of deeper, more savage and deliberate wounds.
Put a bandaid on it, drops of iodine, keep it free of germs.
It’ll heal not deteriorate, smooth over, not scar.
It’s so meaningless it’s like it never happened.
It’s not a lifetime that won’t let you forget it.