Published on October 23rd, 2020 | by Ginny Wiehardt


Ginny Wiehardt on KNIFE SKILLS

‘Knife Skills’
(After a BBC documentary on postpartum OCD)

They gleamed at her from kitchen drawers, reflecting the self she feared, more real than the woman who rocked her child, or bathed him, or smiled at him as he kicked in his bassinet. The knives sliced open a world where she might be not mother, but monster. So she dug holes in the backyard and dropped them in, night by night: first the butcher knife, then the steak knives, all seven, and finally the paring blade, which drew her close with its scalpel edge. She smoothed the earth, leaving dark mounds behind.

The baby grew, chewed his fingers, cried when hungry, turned his head at the sound of her voice. She held him and soothed him, sang lullabies she remembered from her mother. To anyone, she seemed typical. But when she stood before the kitchen window and pulled dishes from suds, she felt her tethers to those slivers withheld. She remembered how she’d tucked them into the corrosive earth. How they sang to her till the baby stopped them with his cries.

(Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

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About the Author

Ginny Wiehardt is the author of Migration, winner of the Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the Harvard Review, PN Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Subtropics, and Willow Springs. She has written about books and creative writing for MUTHA Magazine, the Austin American-Statesman, the Strand Magazine, and Scholastic.com. Her children’s fiction is represented by Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary, and she lives in New York City with her husband and son. Learn more about her work at www.ginnywiehardt.com.

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