“If you’re looking for someone
to lead you, it won’t be me,” she said,
“For now, anyway.”
And it gave him a start, so much so that
he pulled back too quickly
on the small knife he was using to
slice bites from a pear.
A thin line of blood appeared
on the tip of the finger that had been holding the pear,
not the knife.
The first thing he thought
was how work this week would be harder
with that cut.
“For now,” she said again
and reached past his ear to the cupboard
with the Band-Aids and ointment
that always stayed together
because they were both apt to injury.
He smelled her, as she leaned in,
fruit and sweet
and wind from her morning run.
She pulled his hand away from his mouth,
leaving the taste of salt there.
“Let’s fix this,” she said.
They watched red threads of blood
wash over his fingertip down the white basin.
Her hand held his wrist the way it did
on road trips and after they made love.
With her other hand,
she popped a piece of pear into each of
their mouths, his first,
and the taste of blood was gone.
Author’s Note: Don’t you love when you find things tucked away, that meant something very specific once and now mean something different? I wrote this five years ago but today my eyes read it in a whole new way.