Stephen Carson

Associate Director, Membership Management, Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab, MIT

Today

I am precise

in all things–
the measure of spices,
the use of chopsticks,
the time
I will place the phone call.

I sharpen the knife, neat
quick strokes
on the butcher’s steel.
I am making lo mein.

Three hundred miles away,
surgeons’ quick hands
settle on your body.

Bamboo, carrots,
and red peppers–cut
long and thin,
the shape
of the noodles.
This is harmony.
Careful, I fry them
crisp and bronzed.

Just your knees
this time,
worn down
by your weight.
After today,
those joints
will be plastic.

I dry the wok
with paper towels,
soak up each drop
that would rust
red. Today,
I ask for precision

in myself. And in the hands
of strangers, hands
in latex, stained dark
with iodine,
the fingers working
their way
inside you.

 


Appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of The Cape Rock.