“No. 91 About Food (I Did My Best)” by Emily B.

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You wrote about _______, about eating,

the blood on the bed,

the glass in my arm,

the silk, the drool,

prescription medication.

I read your poems,

trying not to understand.

Something about

plausible deniability.

I lied to everyone who asked.

I tried to tell you

that in another life,

I didn’t do so many drugs.

I couldn’t tell you

like I’d tell a stranger

that I’d show my breasts for food.

He sucked my breast for food

then broke me like a foal,

wounding tissue that doesn’t bruise.

I closed my eyes

in the hotel and on the train

and when Nikki asked

where I’d been all night

I swallowed something hard.

I was eighteen

and prouder then.

I remember once

the sun didn’t rise for days.

He ordered champagne

to the big gold room

at Grand Central.

Then more.

We got high in the shower

over and over,

sometimes with the water running,

sometimes with steam.

I was having visions.

I did my best to laugh

while masses below us

roiled

and starved.

Now, my life is tamer.

I watch you weep

into your dry martini,

gagging on garnished uni.

I think mean things about you

But I don’t mean them.

I mean them.

I think mean things about me

But I don’t mean them.

I mean them.

I chewed the hand until it bled into my mouth.

I couldn’t tell if I was being fed

or choked.

I was seeing rainbows on my ceiling

when he called.

He said I’d be his wife,

that age is just a number,

he needed special help.

I sent him photographs,

fingers wrenched hard

inside of me,

trying to make

like I wasn’t in pain.

I was in pain.

I was fourteen

and dumber then.


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Poems curated by FORTH poetry editors.


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