In my kitchen 
There is a knife
My dad gave it to me 
When I left home

It's made of strong steel 
With a sharp blade
I take better care of it 
Than I do of myself

In my kitchen 
There is a sharpening block
My mom gave it to me 
When I left home

When I sharpen my knife
It can cut clean 
Through an overripe tomato
Without puckering the skin

Bowls and spoons and mugs 
I toss in the dishwasher
The knife I clean by hand
Scrubbed and dried until gleaming

Didn't my mom give me this nose?
Didn't my dad give me these eyes?
Can't this body do much grander things
Than slicing up a late summer tomato?

In my kitchen 
There are three jars of cilantro
Growing tall and green 
Beneath the window

I bought them from the store 
A week and a half ago
They see more sunlight than I do
More water, too

I used to tell people 
That I could never own a dog
Not for lack of loving
For fear that I wouldn't give it a good life

In my bedroom
Here I am
Laying in sweat-soiled sheets
Rusting and rotting and hungry

I think
If I had a dog
I would give it a king's life.

MiC Columnist Mei Lanting can be reached at