An excerpt from

A Tinker's Picnic
by Peter Richardson


She must've worked it out the way
you'd fetch the knotted drawstring
partway out of a pair of stretchpants
pinching off a bit of the material
at a time, coaxing the cord's end
backwards towards the drawhole
then reaching in with tweezers
for the knot, or, in this case, the end
or my left ringfinger, snipped off
while I bent over to check
the front doorsill lock of a DC-10.
That would be something to see:
A full half-inch of severed digit
brought to light by stages after
spoiling a perfectly good glove.
How could she pass that up after
noting the glove in our hall closet
in the pocket of my work parka,
a fortnight into my convalescence?
This woman who has trouble
watching an ant being flattened,
who scolds when I clap my hands
to make crows fly up from our lawn,
maneuvers the pulp backwards
towards the glove's elasticized top,
letting it plop into the toilet, where
she notes for my averted gaze
the little white filament of nerve
trailing out behind it like a vestigial
tail on a new kind of pollywog.