They all know, the little ones,
because they’ve all tried it,
what happens to the pencils
when you push them,
blunted end first,
into the hole and turn them
against the blade
and yet today I feel it
all over again, the amazement
offered by one small boy bringing me
the finger he had shorn, the nail shredded,
blood dark and oozing from the tiny wound.
Did you put your finger in the sharpener?
Did you catch it against the blade?
I ask these questions without thinking,
tearing open a band-aid.
He’s six, the number of perfection.