Originally published in Spilled Milk, this prose poem explores disconnection told in a first-person cyclical narration style. Read Spilled Milk Issue 07 here.
How to Eat Yourself
This is how it felt in my body: My stomach digested itself. I ordered only soup. I worried about my heels that made me taller than him. I said to meet me under a purple tree. He knew its name.
He did everything right. I’ve learned not to trust men who do things right.
Three weeks is too soon to wake up in each other’s beds this many times.
If you asked him, he’d still say we’re strangers.
We make birthday plans without each other.
He doesn’t do PDA, he says. But he does not object to the sidewalk in plain sight of bus stop strangers. What he meant is he does not show indication of romance when he is amongst his associates.
He finished with his left hand. I asked if he was left-handed, and he replied, “With this, I am.”
He said, "Be selfish." I told him I came to the opposite conclusion: to be generous. It took a few minutes. I swallowed. I told him it tasted good. I meant it. I expected nothing in return.
I count the hours up to 48. If we talk again, we will not acknowledge the silence. We will remain cordial and talk about how busy the work week was.
It’s not that he consumes me but that I consume myself, much like the ouroboros.
I prepare for future suffering. I suffer today. I suffer so that the future suffering will feel like an old shoe. I’m a fish in a net, still living.
I inch away from the platform. The train departs. My tendency is to wait til the final minute, soak in the climax, let the spirit guide me to a solution.
The spirit does not guide me. The animal claws for the safest solution, one that is easy to retract.
I lost the keychain that night. We each bought one, a cat with a bread on its face. I worried this loss was a symbol of death. I was not wrong.