You All Right
Kathryn Scanlan

I was slicing onions for the salad bar when someone came into the kitchen telling a joke. I looked up like What? and then my blood was soaking pink with onion juice into the cutting board, my body a cold tingling suit I wished I could ditch. It wasn’t even a good joke. You look real bad, they said. You all right, they wanted to know. Trying to make me feel better he told me about chopping firewood with an axe, missing and chopping into his boot, a wide split through leather and into soft skin under, how he’d talked his girlfriend through stitching him up with needle and thread. Pretend it’s cloth, he told her, pretend it’s leather, and soon she saw not his opened flesh his wounded urgency but the two pieces of cowhide she’d sewn into a purse last winter, the lining a supple red silk. His scar a neat purple seam. I’ve seen two people stabbed in my life. One slumped outside a bar while revelers sang boisterous songs inside, their voices coming through the open door for the stabbed man to hear, his blood I mistook for spilled cherry slushie on the sidewalk.