you were given a choice.
you chose this road
first, then the
become an alcoholic to
find a higher power.
meditate occasionally

to see how well it suits you.
fill the emptiness with Oreos,
a smoking habit you detest
but gives your fingers something to
do when you’re speaking anxiously
in public,
when the caffeine is rearranging your
tongue into metaphors and you
need a moment of pause,
clarifying to the audience
with a descriptor you
previously forgot
and the story: winding,
inexplicably always
out of order.

run a 5K every three weeks
to give yourself a mission:
get back in shape,
hone your vision of
bathe everyday.
tell the cat you love her
and pet her for an extra few minutes
before you walk for hours
to lose those new found vowels
pluck out your dead ends
hiding in a stealth spot.
begin a practice of voyeurism.
sit comfortably and
file your nails into sharp points.
lean into them.

write everything down.
start ordering your steak rare:
inhale the lost veal,
the lost zeal of an entire feedlot;
the scent of plasma and cud.
devour a a squealing colony
without remorse.
      give cannibalism a chance.
you’re talking to yourself in public again.
the looks from the other patrons
don’t bother you.
you remember them with skinned knees on
bathroom tile;  your stomach in
velvet knots,
your obsessive purge.
you remember them peering at you
in courtrooms,
you remember them in handcuffs,
in shackles,
side eyes as you make a scene
at the open bar, or get someone’s date to
carry it all:
              vodka soda,
          you lick his ear
            like your boyfriend isn’t even there.
it’s not the groom you want
or ceremony you despise,
it’s the bride.
the way you’ve stolen and
groveled afterwards.
the way they held
onto those wrongs and their
condescending pats on the back
how you’ve managed to
survive it all with gratitude,
without much impact,
you’ve suddenly risen
to their ranks.

get your wisdom teeth removed
and then
cut them into daggers.
check out Home Depot,
ask for “industrial size”
ignore all the
are you ok ?
you’re muttering again.
read the directions.
this stuff is toxic.
don’t get it on your eyelids.
press the bone back into your sockets,
flick the canines,
gotta be solid.
you’re still celibate.
you’re still hungry;

less slovenly from
all the exercise,
less addled than before
and armored like the night.
go back to the diner.
lick your plate.
click your tongue.
you showed them how
starvation’s done.
you showed them how to roam.
you put your money where your
mouth is glued into
your gums.
ring the alarm.

your mouth is lined with
homemade knives, and you’re
wafting noxious with each
breath    you begin to teach
them how to
move again.
you begin to chew more
now that your dysphagia’s
done, you’re gonna smile
show them your veneers,
Ms. Salt and tell them
what you want.
I want it now.

“Veruca Salt”

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