The Meal


Published: April 3, 2008


She types at her desk

in the dim light,

her spine jutting out

like pearls on a string,

her pale skin stretched like canvas

over her thin frame.

Inside, her body takes inventory-

which organs remain

and what to eat of them.

She moves the coals of her eyes

across the room

and turns around to dress,

her shoulder-blades moving

like the wings of a bird.

I expect the wave of awe

that travels through me

as I watch the arc of her body,

the angles of her bones,

the concave abdomen and

looping curls of ribs.

She doesn’t speak much,

I imagine she swallows her words,

tasting each comma,

and sucking clean the vowels.

I suppose it is the same for books

as she lays clutching The Bell Jar,

devouring the sentences,

gorging herself on sadness

and going to bed satisfied.