[POEM] Celebrate Life


A day like any other, and I am a warrior

out to slay the armored butternut squash

that has stood bold and unafraid,

mocking me in the confines of my own kitchen

for far too long.

Preparations for the execution are minimal, to say the least;

the most basic serrated knife,

tucked among the dulled, less worthy blades of the utensil drawer,

for just such an occasion.

Warnings come from more experienced folk

to be wary of the squash’s hide,

so thick, so tough.

“Do not trust the serrations alone;

the angle and strength will determine your


Be diligent. Be ready.”

But I am confident and naive,

my pride is strong enough to take on such a foe as this, surely.

Weapon steadied, my victim held fast

against the unforgiving slab of vinyl counter-top.

Oh, how unrehearsed am I

for this unpredictable adversary,

so devious and unruly at the sight of its utter demise.

A final flail of protest sends the

knife’s edge skimming across its skin

and driving like butter through my own.

The prisoner, with nowhere to escape, nohow to survive,

lies rocking, still mocking,

underneath the dripping crimson faucet

that is my half-scalped thumb.

The first wave that hits me is simple shock at such defeat;

then comes the pointless feather-faint

while pain creeps slowly upstream

from the flowing blood, lost in dribbles

upon the pale laminate of the floor.

Let the trivial spinning settle,

and the next step takes me over the inanimate gourd corpse,

and across the now vast expanse of my apartment,

reaching for the hall closet

and the saving graces of hydrogen peroxide and the last of our Power Rangers Band-Aids.

Apparently a half-inch gash leaves too many blood vessels open

for the Power Rangers to handle alone,

so off to the kitchen again and a nice wad of paper towel

and electrical tape,

at just the right angle to align the severed walls of flesh,

will have to suffice for now.

There are more important concerns at hand,

like what to do with the pristine and flouting butternut squash,

the tainted, ginger polka dots smeared across its humbled carcass,

a reflection of its final taunt.

In my contemplation of what new tool I should use

to dispose of the body with the proper vengeance

in defying my will to a fresh-made soup dinner –

the hammer in the cabinet, perhaps, or a drop from the third floor would do nicely –

the glint of the blood catches my eye, and I am paused.

I look to the red-run gauze around my finger,

the rose lacing through fibers of white.

The pain has subsided,

at least to what point pain can be subdued by will alone.

And this, I feel, is a comfort.

The cut is hidden; I could tell my eyes anything

about what they just witnessed those fateful minutes ago,

and illusion from the truth under the bonds.

More tape would avert my gaze from the seeping wound

and what it yields to the outside world

of my body.

A little pill would be all it takes

to remove all immediately conscious realization

that I am injured.

But why?

To make me feel better about myself

and my defeat to the butternut squash?

What is gained from running from pain?

And what is gained from enduring it?

We feel, do we not?

Do we want to feel like we’re head-deep in chinchilla fur for

all our lives?

Or do we want to know what a needle under the skin feels like

every once in a while?

Another glance toward my feet,

and I no longer see a defiant enemy,

but simply what remains of my human folly.

I lift up the fallen fruit… vegetable… thing,

and place it gently back upon the window sill,

it’s perch of observation and humorous judgment.

I will order sushi tonight,

and sit content with a good book,

the slight throb of my heartbeat in my finger,

and celebrate the solemn and soothing reminder

that I am here

and I feel.


7 thoughts on “[POEM] Celebrate Life

  1. Ha! Been there, done that.

    How to slay the beast:

    Lay it sideways (preferably on a non slide cutting board). Select the midpoint. Align your sword’s blade to run the axis from this midpoint to either the stem or the butt. Stab downwards to impale the gourdly beast. Now, leaving the tip of the knife unmoving at the base, pry to rest of the blade downwards from vertical to horizontal either towards the stem or towards the butt. Remove the knife from the half-severed corpse, reverse the gourd and finish the decapitation in the same way: from the vertical knife with the point down at the previous impaling spot to the horizontal. Voila! Two halves ready to have their seeds scooped and the rest roasted.

    The benefit is that you can hold the squash at the end you’re not cutting so that it isn’t allowed to do one of those fast get-aways. This method works for all kinds of tough skinned opponents: stab and pry downwards away from any body parts that tend to get in the way. May your mass murdering of vegetables be fruitful… or your dismembering of fruits be vegetative… or something like that.

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