Sliced Thin 


by Pamela Mordecai



Knives in our house are razor-edged. Pa grinds 

them round and round on a flint stone in a small pool 

of oil, opaque and rheumy like his eyes 

the day before he died. With them he carved 

slivers of beef, ham, pickled tongue. 

We grew convinced the guiding principle 

of fine cuisine was everything sliced thin. 

And yes, of course attenuation was the rule, 

our food extended and our clothes to just 

short of threadbare. They even eked out time, 

wake at day-break and work till night come down. 

Foolish me, thinking Pa and Ma would never not 

be here, beneficent and provident as God, 

creating out of nothing, conjuring from air.