Don’t start to poke with a finger or stick (3)
'stick' is the definition.
(I've seen this before)
'don't start to poke with a finger' is the wordplay.
'don't start' means to remove the first letter.
'to poke with a finger' becomes 'prod' (I've seen this before).
'prod' with its initial letter removed is 'ROD'.
'or' acts as a link.
(Other definitions for rod that I've seen before include "Long, straight stick", "Wand - fishing stick", "axle", "16.5 feet", "Former measure equal to a quarter of a chain".)