Food Poetry

Tea Up High
we hung the crow
from the same branch
the tire swing was chained
then set up high tea 
his wings released
feathers into the cream
bluebirds landed on power lines
we poured chamomile
leaves into teacups
in the house, our mother gave birth
to a soldier kitted with uniform and gun
the crow cried cinnamon tea
we sliced up cucumbers
and dipped them in mayonnaise
his wings stilled
we bit down on caviar
as dark as his eyes
liquid seeped down our throats
Reside With Me
I sit with Empty, who guzzles
unfilled aluminum cans and crunches
cardboard boxes. We hold hands
and water sloshes in my stomach
like whip cream topped waves
against a cliff. Empty asks
for a refill. I plead to the clay
statues and hanging painted keys
for my own refill. Then I notice
the holes in Empty’s chest.
Oxygen and shards of glass
leak out. We plug the holes
with horse hair and paper clips,
but still glass clinks against the floor
and I hear Empty breathing beside me.
She slides her fingers under my shirt,
against my belly button, through
the hole there, and into the ocean
within me. She pulls a seashell out
and immediately breaks it between
her teeth. I tell her to be careful
with what she eats, take down statues
from the alter, stuff a relic in each hole,
and watch Empty ram herself into the walls
like a bird trapped indoors.
Cake, No Empty
She walks back and forth
across the kitchen’s squeaking
wood floor and holds her hands
close to the oven’s empty maw.
Her fingers are blistered from heat,
but she whispers about the cold.
I cup and count her ribs through
her white shirt. She stirs
a pot of oatmeal and hums
to the broken sound
of a country song.
I see her sitting
on the bathroom floor,
her nails scratching at the tile,
her body cannibalizing
itself. She struggled
to think I need you,
but now she spells out
onomatopoeia and we tuck
the word’s syllables
into the oven, baking
them into a holy feast.
On my plate are the ribs
of a baby animal. My mother
slathered them in sludgy
barbeque sauce.
I slice white chunky
fat from the meat and feel
the silence of the endless
cavern within my chest.
I cut the rest of the meat
from the bones and into
squares, then capture
a piece with my fork.
My teeth are dull. I grind
them at night while I dream
of my mother breaking the necks
of an ark full of animals.
My teeth work the stringy
meat from cheek to cheek
until I swallow and set
my cutlery on my plate.
I breathe, rub my hand along
my side, close my eyes, and feel
for ribs under flesh. I imagine
myself on the cutting board.
My mother opens me up and pulls
slender curves of bones from me
until the counter leaks red. She slides
a finger in her mouth for a taste.
I open my eyes, scrape the dead
animal onto the floor, and watch
the dogs as they snap the bones
and wet the floor with their saliva.

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