The Master’s Tools


The ground is smooth, we say, but you know different.
The surface is smooth, you say, but underneath are razors.
Look at my feet, you say. We gasp at the scars.
But we walk on this ground, we say, every day, without

Bleeding. You say, look at what I’m carrying, this weight.
We say, put it down. You say, it belongs to those I love.
But without the weight, we say, you could walk safe.
So you raise the surface, show us what’s been under

All this time. A bed of nails, laid in careful rows,
Covered in blood and flesh, rusted and fresh. You ask,
How did these get here? We don’t know, we answer.
You show us the names of our fathers carved on

Every blade. Our mothers. But we don’t know how
To get rid of them, we say. Help us, we say. We’ll
Pay you, we say. You help. We pay you. You teach us
How to grind sharp things down. You become an

Expert. We pay you. We listen to you speak. We
Applaud. You take our money. You give it to others with
Scars on their feet. You pay them. You grind the nails
Down. The rust is gone, the blood, the flesh, so we say

The job is done. You look down at what you’ve made:
Money, and a bed of needles so fine they’re almost
Invisible. Sharp enough to make butter of bone. You say
No, that’s not what I meant, but we smile and point

To your feet. Scars so fine now they’re almost
Invisible. And your weight, we say, it’s gone. Your hands
Are empty. Your heart hammers in your throat.
The weight, you say, I need it back. Don’t worry,

We’re keeping it safe. Where? In the rooms where
Such things belong. Let me see it. Right this way.
The weight you carried, behind smooth glass. We
Crowd around it. We pay to see it. You pay to see it.

The needles raise their eyes up toward your bones.

Published by CorinnaSchulenburg

Artist and Activist

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