You’re young, and your mom cuts the crust off
your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
and then you’re old, and the director is yelling “cut”
and it’s all over.
We can talk about a life cut short but
I’d much rather talk about cutting across the dance floor
in the arms of someone who thinks
you put the stars in the sky.
We can talk about the economy and “cutting corners”
but I’d rather mention shortcuts through
forests that take you to the stream.
Yeah, there are words I omitted saying here,
lines that didn’t quite make the cut,
but what about cutting class
to go to your favorite author’s book signing?
Yeah, I did that, don’t talk to me about
having your ideas cut down, say something
about lawns and fresh-cut grass.
How do you prepare your vegetables and your children?
Do you cut fine or do you cut into pieces –
do you hack or are you tender? –
Do you boil them or just leave them raw?
People will cut you in line,
and cut you off while driving,
but I want to hear a poem about cutting down
the rope they’re about to hang you with.
Paper cuts exist, but so do haircuts –
people can be made new again to your eyes.
Don’t tell me about cutting throats,
let’s talk about cutting loose,
break through the bonds,
cut through them with the scissors that are
just there in your pocket, I promise.
Cut out your favorite quote and tape it to the
wall above your bed, read it every night
before you fall asleep and cut through that darkness
like the fearless Mississippi cuts through this country.
Cut your initials into the trunk of an upside-down tree,
leave a carving behind to tell that your hands were here.
Yeah, you can tell me to cut it out,
you can cut me out of your life,
but I want to cut right down to the bone
and leave no part of this untouched
and I invite you to grab my shaking wrist
and help hold this knife steady.