No Matter How You Cut It

I run cold water
when I slice an onion.
I don’t know what it is
with me and onions,
but the burn pierces much deeper
than necessary,
much more
than I care to explain.

You may insist
on soaking or freezing
an onion
before slicing.
You may insist
that you would
never
let an onion
break you.

But this onion
is so smooth and crisp,
she knows
it will be pungent.
She holds her breath,
even though she can already feel
the fumes brushing her eyes.
She blinks hard
and turns away for a moment
before continuing to slice.
She takes off her glasses
and rubs her palms
on her eyes,
pressing too hard,
but it’s too late.
She puts down the knife,
lays her hands flat on the counter
and braces herself
against the waves.

~ Megan M. Codera

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