“They say our mothers really know how to push our buttons – because they installed them.”
Image: Business Today
By Li-Young Lee
To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.
Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife’s right hand.
Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.
Li-Young Lee, “The Gift” from Rose. Copyright ©1986 by Li-Young Lee
Nothing says Christmas like evergreen trees, candy canes, strings of colorful lights, ginger bread-spiced Xanax and kids screaming in terror while perched on Santa’s lap. The latter is particularly reminiscent of those times when you feel the yuletide holiday brings out the best in people. As these photos indicate, that’s just not true. Yes, it’s that glorious time of the year. Merry Christmas, all you little fuckers!