Carving Knife

Carving Knife
by Margaret Davis

At midnight I find her drenched on my doorstep stinking of cheap white wine and despair.
I’m at a loss, I barely know her and what I do know is not endearing – sly, cynical, sharp–witted, delighting in provocative put downs. Never like this, sobbing, suicidal.
I wish there was someone I could call.
I flounder around with sweet tea and towels and platitudes all the while panicking
about the carving knife lying starkly alone on the draining board, wondering how the hell
I can slip it out of sight without her seeing me and making good the threat she’s made
20 times in 20 minutes.
Or – even more disconcerting, but highly probable –
what if she were to erupt in scornful laughter at the literalness of my response?
And how can I even think that her mockery would be worse than having to grapple
with her for the knife?
University town, 50,000 souls and one shrink.
I wish there was someone to call.

She doesn’t end it in the end. She sleeps in my spare room on the brown corduroy sofabed
which I make up for her with faded floral sheets. I finally get the knife back in the drawer.
She refuses breakfast, leaves quietly, studiously avoids me for the rest of the year.
I don’t try to call her.
I was so thick, I thought mine was just a random door she thumped on in a storm.
The entire gamut of her student-on-tutor crush had eluded me.


Margaret Davis is a writer from the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia. She is also a theatre director and playwright, recent works being Breaking Bread, Eating Pomegranates and Lookout/Look Out! (currently in development.) In 2020 she wrote for Come to Where I Am filmed for Critical Stages (Australia)/ Paines Plough (U.K.). Her play Shearwater was programmed by the Tasmanian Theatre Company in 2020 but was cancelled due to Covid. The play was shortlisted for the Silver Gull award in 2021. Her poems have been published in Australian literary magazines Ulitarra, Imago and Central Coast Writers.
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