A RECIPE FOR HUNGER
Hungry, our eyes point, aim where hurt is willing.
Reactions simmer on the cooker ring
until boiling; a pot for us to stare blindly into.
I make meals from the taste of my own voice: sickly
sweet sauce infused
with alcohol-marinated lemon rind.
Crumbs reoccur like demons
on a chopping board.
On the dinner plate, slivers of dissected
flesh mangled around a fork’s teeth, then
the massive feasting
of strangers in exodus. We keep returning.
Riots! Sucking sounds against bone, meat left
to overnight under fingernails,
knives and tumblers abruptly streaking.
After supper — stunned by the stench of boots kicked off
at the low point of a sprung base,
soon after by the nightmare-infested fist of a child at 4 am.
I’m preparing to tell you this: to tell you each day is birth
and the burial. Until, at the blindside
of the bed, the smell of leather cooking something exotic.
Someone is watching with eye fonts on the front
cover, pupils the sly dilation of blame. I hear a
child’s strand of hair whispering, stringing sounds
of letters to make a chain-mail out of prologues. Pens
at the ready on the first page! I will, the voice promises,
sense a trigger-hand stamping ink handcuffs on flesh, the
blotter then to soak the working-class shame. Little
consequence, I know: people don’t eyeball their assassin
in best-selling deaths. But, I have un-wordy form;
might die from tiny murders with suitably dark characters.
Once, in the rickety long-loader, the announcement
of my arrival was the hard, plastic tips of laces
slapping a wire ladder, and on entering, to my limited
shame, I squirreled pretentious notions disguised as a
hardback into the potholed lining of my convent gabardine.
It was called Less Than Zero.
Outside the pages was a house, family, us. Inside, under a
pillow I shared with sister, I recall each dated reminder
now, less than zero. Every bookshelf tried to align us, but
we were, by my calculations, that is to say — after a meddling
with alphabetic obedience — correctly labelled as harmed.
A spider where you point
your gaze: brothers,
tidied for battle, pinned
unarmed to the floor,
ready for the killing in them
to reveal itself, not yet
hard in their ways.
It will come.
Your sisters are younger,
unknowing of the consequences
of growing —
the absolution needed
to harbour death.
You know fear. The boys will too.
Your sisters keep looking
to the highest wall for it.