Each night you come home with five continents on your hands: garlic, olive oil, saffron, anise, coriander, tea, your fingernails blackened with marjoram and thyme, Sometimes the zucchini's flesh seems like a fish-steak, cut into neat filets, or the salt-rubbed eggplant yields not bitter water, but dark mystery. You cut everything to bits. No core, no kernel, no seed is sacred: you cut onions for hours and do not cry, cut them to thin transparencies, the red ones spreading before you like fallen flowers; you cut scallions from white to green, you cut radishes, apples, broccoli, you cut oranges, watercress, romaine, you cut your fingers, you cut and cut beyond the heart of things, where nothing remains, and you cut that too, scoring coup on the butcherblock, leaving your mark, when you come home your feet are as pounded as brioche dough.

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