Her father steadies himself at the basin,
foam like January snow on his face.
Her mother holds a finger to her lips.
They name it a cut-throat
he told her once. She doesn't know why.
He begins. Child and mother hush.
In the yard, calves and donkey fall silent.
He scrapes trails of smooth skin,
rinses blood-pinked foam
off the blade. Job finished.
Her mother holds out the towel. He turns
grinning, once a week clean, innocent
as anything. Yes, her mother says drily
that's the one I married alright.
Then she goes out to get in the turf.
The child hugs her father and breathes in
the benediction of soap and water.
Outside a calf bawls, the donkey calls.
Lightness comes back to the house for now.
Published as 'Cut-Throat' in The Blue Guitar (Salmon Poetry 2011) and Cinnamon Press 2010)