Feed: A Definition
This is how we fill our plates. This is half-off at the Super Buffet, rows of reheated oysters and day old sushi and tiny, decapitated octopuses. This is me, growling at you over my bowl, and you, stealing when I’ve turned my back. Eating what you shouldn’t. Circling back for more.
This is insobriety. Some kind of cocktail loaded with alcohol you can’t taste, served in a whole pineapple, and yes, honey, I’m drinking it all myself. It goes down like juice. It goes down and refuses to satisfy, but sugar, I refuse to quit. This is guzzling, wolfing, feeding to the point of toxicity. This is taking it. This is the uselessness of sense. This is me, uncorking another bottle.
Don’t ask for the check.
This is how you slurp your soup like it is part of me. This is what it sounds like to not apologize. To consume for the pleasure of consumption. To find sustenance in everything: my sorbet eyes, your porridge skin. The way objects you touch become necessary and animate. Let me order for you. Let me refill your plate. This restaurant will never close, and we will never, ever be full.
Dumpling, put your fucking napkin away.
This is cleavage you’re not allowed to look at. Innuendo you can pretend to miss. All those lipsticked girls ladling stew, griddles spitting oil, bodies under heat lamps. The way meat seems to pucker. The way dying things respond to touch. It’s just food, sweetie. It can’t taste you back.
We will take more than we can eat and eat more than we can stomach. Quit batting your eyes, cupcake; quit touching your neck. Pumpkin, this is imperative. Primitive. Every open mouth is an oven. The space between us drips with excess.
Cross: A Definition
Dig your heels in. Don’t let them drag you. The second crime scene will be your grave. If you bring Easter lilies home, someone will die. Never get your palm read. Never get your fortune told. Don’t anger the spirits, or let them in.
Did I ever tell you what happened when I was eight?
Those circles under your eyes are genetic. Nobody will believe you’ve never been hit. Don’t get off at this intersection. Knock on wood. If you hear three knocks, someone will die. If you hear an owl, someone will die. It’s best not to mess with other kinds of lilies either.
I don’t know if I told you about when I was fourteen.
Pay attention to palindromes and coincidences and hunches. This photograph? – a ghost put it there. After she died, we saw a cross on the couch. Deaths come in threes and sevens, so you could be next. You know better than to live on such a dark street.
I need to tell you about when I was six.
When your gut tells you to run, run. When they tell you to fight, fight. Cross the street if it makes you feel better. Don’t leave the cat alone with the baby. Use butter on a diaper rash and knives to lock a busted door.
You don’t want to know what happened when I turned ten.
I’ll tell you, but you won’t believe me.
Move your hands. It’ll hurt worse if I have to move them for you. Come here. Bend over. Burn off a tick. Dig out a chigger. She needs her pills. She needs a lemon. Cross your fingers. Cross your legs. Cross your heart and hope to die. If they drag you, try to vomit.
I was fifteen when you were born.
You’re heavier when you go limp. Go for the eyes. Check under your car. Find a public place. Watch your mouth. Don’t get on that airplane. Don’t go over that bridge. Don’t answer the door. Don’t go toward the light. Get that goddamn flower out of my house.
They’ll say you’ve grown up asking for it with your eyes. Don’t disagree. Don’t flinch. Protect your head. You can use your keys as weapons. Don’t scream help, scream fire because people will respond to that.
You’re old enough to know the truth.
You don’t believe me now, but you will.