I have learned

We spent
the first part
of Sunday

digging a splinter
out of his foot
on the back stoop.

A cloudy, windy
morning. A painful,
yet bearable procedure.

The splinter already
callused over and we
broke the skin to dig.

I began the excavation,
but after so many flinches
and moans, I let him do it

I have learned it is easier
to inflict pain on yourself
than to let someone you love
do it to you.

The splinter was a stubborn
thing and by the time it was

out there was a hole of pink
flesh and clear pus left in

its wake. I did what I do best
and cleaned the open wound.
Alcohol, antiseptic, and bandage.

He said a bandage wouldn’t hold.
It will help, I say, I have learned
it will help.