Whetstone

by Colin Pink

I broke the whetstone,
    knocked it off the shelf,
                   reaching for a book.

It fell to the floor,
    broke in pieces with a
                    sharp clack and snap.

I fitted them together; they
    balanced like drunks
                    one on another.

Their razor sharp edges
   made invisible joints
                   but at the merest touch
 
they fall apart again
    exposing the wounds
                    of their separation.

My father was a barber,
    it was his whetstone,
                    the surface worn concave,
 
honed by his hand,
    year on year spent
                   sharpening the blade.
 
Watching him sharpening
    the cut-throat razor
                    was a childhood fascination
 
as he spat on the stone
     and ran the razor’s edge
                     over it again and again

until it bore the shape
    of his life; and still it
                    sharpens my memories.