Swiss Army Knife by Mindy Haskins Rogers

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swiss army knife with all its extensions out, like corkscrew and knife blade

Candy red, packed tight with stainless implements, it is a utilitarian masterpiece.

After I ran away, it became part of a fugitive’s toolkit. I punctured cans, rocking back and forth in jagged turns to get at morsels of green beans or tuna. I could cut potatoes and onions into foil for a campfire. With miniature scissors I trimmed my hair: snip, snip, snipping through slippery brown handfuls. The corkscrew worked well enough, if I braced the bottle between my thighs for the final tug.

It is a slick cousin to the jackknives of my youth, with their molded plastic, faux-bone handles.

One lucky day my father took his daughters to the sporting goods store to buy knives that matched his own. They hung on velvet in a glass case, and we removed them one by one until we had chosen. I kept mine in the linty pocket of my corduroys, fondled it, took it out to extend the gleaming blade.

My father used his for everything–sharpening pencils, jimmying things.

Now, on picnics in the park with my son, I use my Swiss Army knife to cut his peaches. Carefully unfolding the dulled blade from its shell, I carve orange crescents from a bleeding red pit.

mindy haskins rogersMindy Haskins Rogers’ writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Entropy Magazine and Atticus Review, and she was a scholarship recipient at Juniper Writing Institute in 2014. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and child, where she is a member of Grub Street Writers’ community and Straw Dog Writers’ Guild. She is working on a memoir. You can follow her on Twitter: @mhaskinsrogers.


STORY IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr Creative Commons/James Case

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