Woodworkers: The Art of Hollowing

“Because I said so”

paved the road traveled
                               only by her words.
Her actions painted
the winding line in a do not
pass
zone pattern. No dashes,
just a solid, unwavering
ribbon—goldenrod,
like the daisies on the dresses
she decked me in, or
the sunflowers that adorned
our kitchen during a certain
trend, the bent stems
hopelessly hanging,
fossilized while they fulfilled
their commissioned
call-of-unnatural-duty.

“Because I said so”

was the flicker in the flame
                               at the core
of the forbidden fruit,
reflecting from shop front
windows at dusk
                                after curfew,
from lakefronts at dawn—
crème brulee, a burnt
offering worth every
idle word that would follow.
And beyond the tongue lashing,
would preserve, impenetrable
by leather straps, hasty hands,
or lengths of solitary
confinement. Undeniable,
also,                        was the raised scar—
more hers than mine.

“Because I said so”

drove the wedge past
                               its splitting point,
the beveled edge
as sharpened as any
combatant’s double-edged
sword. Astounding how simple
words would form
the weapons that splintered
and split us further

and further                           apart.
Veterans of the art form,
we learned to carve deeper,
into the softer flesh,
piercing places
no onlooker would
become the wiser.

“Because I said so,”

I discovered
                               while whittling,
weren’t even her words.
They were kept
in a nondescript box
tied shut with a clumsy,
fringed yellow ribbon.
The attached note, written
with an unsteady hand,
read,
                               “Because I love you.”

Woodworkers: The Art of Hollowing

Jenifer DeBellis

Dryden, United States

  • Artwork Comments 18

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