Sunday, April 7, 2013

Belly Full

The brushed brass hinges on the cabinets;

the wall of copper gelatin molds--a fish and a bow, 

a wreath and a doll. My great-grandmother's hands

guiding my small fingers around the handle of a fork, 

helping me press X's into the peanut butter cookies

before whisking the tray of them into the oven. 

The aluminum bowls and the sound of eggs being beaten. 

My whole body humming with the eggbeater--

its vibration louder than my heartbeat. 

Waiting for the cookies, I sat on a yellow stepstool

topped with a yellow padded seat. 

At the dining room table, I sat on two thick telephone

books as the food was passed around, and milk

poured from a pitcher shaped like a bunch of grapes. 

The rest of the house lacked the warmth I felt

in the places where I filled the hole in my belly, 

though my grandmother kept a bowl of ribbon 

candy on the coffee table

year round. But it was hard and as much as I sucked, 

this candy wouldn't fill my belly quick enough. 

And the hole to fill grew larger as I grew--

soon, it was big as one of the seven seas--

a place so vast, pelicans got lost flying over it. 

I, myself, became smaller than the hole in me, 

and my tiny self sat in a rowboat, having lost an oar, 

rowing in circles, pleading with the gray sky to feed

or release me. I wished the rain into triangles of candy corn

and the sea became pink lemonade

until I woke from the illusion one morning, 

a belly full of saltwater, swelling and starving. 

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