"To The Party of the First..."

I’d say cut the table in half
cut each of the twelve chairs
in half cut each dish in half and cut
the cups and split the saucers
this is not Solomon’s baby
half a tea-pot for each
eleven paintings in two’s
half a spatula half a fridge
a stove dissevered
half the wall of shelves
and half of one thousand
six hundred and eight books

let’s pause…we may have a legal dilemma

the judge may opine
on precedents for the proper
method of the cutting of books
whether it be a rip down the spine
a surgical sideways slice
making top and bottom halves
or a dissection of lengthwise portions
leaving a whole story of half paragraphs

so here’s a concession

when the houses and all
the chimneys and all the roofs
and all the trees and shrubs
all the rugs and all the drawers
the windows doors and keys
when the bed is finally cut in half

you can have first pick of the piles

and after all the pots the pans
the spoons forks and knives are cut
and there’s one knife left
the one that’s been doing the cutting
you get the knife

OWEN LEWIS, MD is a writer, child psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, whose poetry has appeared previously appeared in The Adirondack Review (Fall 2010), The Hamilton Review, and The Performing Arts Review, and articles in such journals as The American Journal of Psychotherapy and Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He co-authored the multi-media work for poetry and piano, New Pictures at an Exhibition (published by Alexander Broude, Inc.), and Psychodynamic Psychotherapies with Children and Adolescents (American Psychiatric Press).