The Crucible


November 2005: Age 14 by Alyssa Agerton

Feel the strength: pressure moves

from shoulder to elbow, to hand,

to knife, pressing in and sliding out.

But the blade catches skin, halting

the process; the knife, your life, your

work, all are dull. Get out the stone,

sharpen the edges. You’re running

out of time, finish the job.

Wife and child, home soon, heels

clacking, laughter bouncing up the drive,

disappointment on their faces. Do you think

this carnage is what she wants to come home to?

Innards, guts, goop, and muck

on countertops, flung on refrigerator

doors, sticking to bright white tiles,

covering everything in slippery contamination.

Mop up, sponge up, wipe up this

mess. Pull yourself together,

feel the strength in your shoulder move

to the elbow, to the hand, to the knife.

Take the lifeless, the naked, and dominate

it, make it yours. Stuff it with your hopes,

dreams, desires. But don’t you dare forget

the breadcrumbs and spices.