The Onion

July 3, 2004 at 12:01 am (Uncategorized)

Look at your hands
Now imagine
you have no fingernails
the ends are smooth and round
now imagine
there is something slick
on the end of your fingers
Rub it around

Before you
is an onion
Its very large
Its white
It is not sweet
It will burn

You must peel the onion

It is trussed in its shell
the decaying outer shell
But you cannot harm the onion

How will you peel it?
You have no nails
You have no knife
Your fingers are slick

How will you peel it?

There is always a flaw
a crack, a fissure
and you will work your finger
around it
it will be difficult
You must be patient
For you may not harm the onion

You must rub the shiny dead skin
along the crack, the flaw
until it opens
And then you will cry
The onion is not sweet
The onion will burn

Every layer
of the onion
must be peeled.

It is tedious
It is time consuming
It is frustrating
It burns
It makes you cry
but you must not harm the onion

You may not toss it the air
You may not smash it
on the table
you may not use a knife
Nor a nail
Nor anything sharp
for the onion
is fragile

is what the onion needs
Every layer
is thicker and harder
every layer
will burn
every layer
will make you cry
but you must not harm the onion

In the onion
there is a core
it is the most fragile
It is the sweetest part
of the onion
it will not make you cry

As you cup it
in your hands
you realize you’ve spent so much time
peeling the onion
the other pieces
the outer shell
are withering
and dying

And you are left
with the sweet core

Peel your onion
but do not harm the onion
for it contains
your sweetest core


  1. Seeker said,

    Nice post.. I likes it.

    I want a little baby onion so i dont have to work so hard =)

  2. Queenie said,

    Oh, I want a huge onion. Discovery.


  3. AJ said,

    Hmmm…I had 2 other really complementary comments on your last two previous posts, Inanna, but neither of them showed up!

    I just wanted to say that I’m very impressed with your poetry and it’s inpired me to try and work on some myself. Thank for your fine work. It really is inspiring.


  4. Inanna said,

    Seeker and Queenie: Unfortunately, we do not get to choose the size of the onion… but I would opt for small myself!

    AJ and others: I know folks have posted comments that are not showing up. I am getting them in my inbox. I appreciate your encouragement and compliments. More poetry to follow.

  5. Jay said,

    when i was a teenager i worked at subway. we’d fill the sink with water and throw the onions in and peel them underwater so our eyes wouldn’t tear. that doesn’t have anything to do with your poetry, but it reminded me of that.

  6. Inanna said,

    Jay — now, if we could just drown our sorrows instead of in them… 🙂

  7. Anonymous said,

    Exquisite. Simly exquisite.

  8. Celti said,

    This post has been removed by the author.

  9. Celti said,

    oops..that was me. sorry about the anon.

    …and that should be SIMPLY EXQUISITE. OOmph. need coffee.

  10. Inanna said,

    Thank you Celti — urg.. blogger is making things difficult these days.

  11. Celti said,

    I have a Live Journal page…if blogger keeps up this crap, I might just have to bail. hmmmph.

  12. Avuncular 1 said,

    Get thyself to an open mike night. That is if you want to share in that way, not everybody does.

  13. jp said,

    Onions have layers. Ogres have layers.

  14. jp said,

    *pokes head in room* Inanna???? Innnnannnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaa??? Where you at?

  15. Seeker said,

    Inanna is busy making onion rings she will return shortly I am sure.

  16. Working Overtime « Anything Goes said,

    […] I’m really tired of feeling numb. Time to start peeling the onion again. […]

  17. wdbramble said,

    damn….thought this was the newspaper

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