Nervosa

I stopped eating when he could no longer touch me,
swore only he would touch my lips.
First I let go of my morning rituals,
then lunch, dinner.
By the time I could slip jeans with
fastened buttons and lodged zipper teeth
over my pubescent hips,
I no longer fasted for him. I saw him as he was:
hands slimy from spoilt, spilt masturbatory seed.
Instead, I fasted for those other girls—
my golden idols with hips like Scandinavia’s gnarly fingers,
rib cages blossoming second pairs of knobbly breasts—
who could also slip their bodies, like bone sacks, into size twos.

We two

We two
sit on the sidewalk,
pretzel dipping into sugar glaze,
cinnamon melting on tongue,
as you relay your
philosophy: spring’s green
before summer
makes leaves turn skyward
for water, turns green into
color absence, heat as bleak
as winter.
I touch the small,
empty space on the sidewalk
that keeps you
within arm’s reach,
the need tangible to
remember.

Breakfast

Across the table, you eat
your meal and half of mine,
speaking nonsense syllables
to find the years we have lost;
I have found them in my mouth
as old, regretted words
we claim we have forgotten.

I know your father,
my grandfather, would come home,
lay you across his bed
to swing the thick leather down,
burning your skin
half as much as your memory.
His smell of tobacco and liquor
were the seal on your promise
to be a father unlike him.

You never broke it,
though I do not tell you.
The words sit in my mouth
filled with pancakes.
We leave
two empty plates on the table.