Ashley McWaters: Lesson

The body of work takes off her clothes,
intending to shock. She is a skeleton;
her shadow a warrior. I ask her
what is her nom de plume, she replies
she eats no chicken. I ask her to show
what she wants, she draws a knife
from under her foot and begins dancing
a waltz with the blade held high.
She motions for me to put down my work
and come. We are in the belly of a whale
or we are spat out on dry ground. We
are dancing. We are moving our fingers
and holding still. The blade glints
and standing sighs. She is still teaching
tricks with the knife. She is tricking me
to teach with the knife. She is knifing
the trick so there is teaching: hook, needle’s
open eye. I stay, quiet the blade. Come
closer ever closer come. Let me tie
your hands together. Tangle your fingers.
Knot your wrists. I stay still, quiet
the clicking needles, swallow
the spitting edge. I wait.

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