On Butchood and Onions

It begins with a laceration           knife to onion, onion to knife            slipping on sunglasses
to keep the tears            from staining my blouse—            or should I say button-up?            You see,
I’ve always cut            gender with a dull knife. Never had clean            slit, unable to work a pear into
hatched pieces, let alone my own body            I’m unfamiliar with its slices. My hands: butter knives.
My curves:            serrated edges forever littering valleyed marks into the things I want to preserve:
fruit jellies, pickled leeks            threaded jacket collars pressed thick with calendula, I guess            it's
a dice roll. Maybe instead of glasses I should            have chosen snake eyes            a fixed point. A
single dot.            Something to hold and capture in the meat            of my palm but            I still
don’t know what that says about gender. Or onions for that matter.            Because I’m sure there’s a
space between Woman and Onion where I could settle: a gap-toothed dimension            all dull
knives,            mangled edges and the jeans I stole            from the Old Navy Men’s Section. A space
that allows for days when I’m more Woman than Onion            and days when I’m only a bulb
and green shoots. Knowing            that when I’m Onion all I need to            fear are the kitchen
knives            and when I’m Woman,            all I need to fear is the sharp edge of a man’s mouth.


*

I balance this dichotomy and the Onion in one hand.            Carve away the rind. Scoop the peels in a
basket.            Remember what my grandmother taught me            about silencing: hushing babies,
honey lozenges, tissue and sap            for the pit of my ears. Last year I cut off my own lips. Hung them
to dry above the kitchen fan.            And my fingers recall the practice.            The careful cutting
board. The red handle of the scissors.            So when I say I am Onion, all you need to fear            are
the tears on your shirt collar.            And when I say I am Woman,            all you need to fear          is me.

Natchez - C.R. Resetarits

C. R. Resetarits is a writer and visual artist. Her art and collages have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including the current covers of The Florida Review and Falling Star. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Callan Foster is a high school librarian passionate about queer lit, education, and the color orange. She lives on an island near Seattle with her cat, Ralph.

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