Academic journal article Chicago Review

The Spoon

Academic journal article Chicago Review

The Spoon

Article excerpt

The first time I saw her trying to eat peas with a knife it opened the sluices-I was swamped by love & pity. Our people have been eating peas that way for centuries. But she'd only been here a few months. In her homeland people still eat with their hands. She was struggling to adapt, & her maladroitness touched me. When my brothers & I were replete, she was still frustrated, still famished. I made a silent vow that night to nourish her. The next day I invented the spoon for her.

Six months later:

Peas in her hair, in her clothes & shoes. Peas underfoot and in all the nooks of our tent. She sat bent over the tray trying to line them up on the blade & bring it to her lips without spilling. She practiced for hours with a spirit level strapped to her wrist, rehearsing the fluid movement my people perform automatically. She scorned the prototype spoon which I'd forged for her in tin. Hid it in a drawer. In her eyes it was a badge of shame, a malefic talisman. …

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