cutting greens

By Lucille Clifton

curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black,
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and i taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

Lucille Clifton, “cutting greens” from How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 2020 by The Estate of Lucille Clifton. Reprinted by permission of The Permission Company LLC, on behalf of BOA Editions Ltd.