The 2River View 19.3 (Spring 2015)

Kevin Kinsella

Knife Work

My grandfather could peel a whole apple
with a small pocket knife so that the peel
stayed connected in one curling piece
like a single helix twisting in space

and while I was left handed like he was
and young and sober like he wasn't
I could never pull off the trick myself
without nicking my finger and bleeding

all over the fruit and the peel
which he'd take from my shaking hands
and rinse in a pot of cold saltwater
so that the apple didn't turn too brown

then laugh and tell me to go wash my hands
before my mother saw all of the blood

As Though

When I first saw the photograph
of the two of them sitting
in their starched kitchen whites
on the steps out behind the restaurant
he with his arm around her
and she leaning close to him
almost dropping her cigarette
and both smiling for the camera
I readily understood that
they were once happy together

but now here are his swollen eyes
staring heavily into the camera
as though daring me to guess again
with his arm held tight around her neck
pulling her close with such force
that she almost drops her cigarette
while she smiles bravely as one does
when someone is recording
a quiet moment of time after work
in the days before they lost everything

Kevin Kinsella is a freelance writer and poet living in Brooklyn. He is the translator of two collections of Russian poetry: Sasha Chernyi’s Children’s Island (Lightful Press) and Osip Mandelstam’s Tristia (Green Integer Books). His work has most recently appeared in Bombsite, The Bridge, Pif, and Tarpaulin Sky Magazine.

« Lois P. Jones Laurie MacDiarmid »