God loves the hungry more than the full.
I have not harmed my body as much as other bodies
have harmed themselves. Around the Easter table,
Merlot-dark tongues whet tar teeth. Pairs of lungs soak
in ash. The stench of tobacco leaves my hair a filthy
sponge of smoke. There I go, judging. My mother says
I resemble her father, a man who drank his poison
on the daily. Two generations later, sparkling water
keeps people I don’t know from people I will become;
that is, boxes my grandfather out of my mirror. No need
to remind me wine and blood helix. The studies that say
some metabolisms crave the drink say my metabolism
thirsts for bitter. What a description for how I starve
myself in the name of living, while the world indulges.
Lighters lick cigarettes. A fruit fly gulps red wine.
Desire mostly spells destruction. A cork pries open
a fresh rush of foam en route to shore. By shore, I mean
mouth. The fly traps itself in heaven. The cigarette
becomes the filter. Arrogant to think I can escape him,
eyeing my Pellegrino the way a hyena settles for bone,
bottle stretching my face into someone I never met.
Geoff Anderson curated Columbus, Ohio’s first poetry shows for biracial writers, translation, and immigration. He’s a Callaloo fellow and his chapbook, Humming Dirges, won Paper Nautilus’s Debut Series (2017). He is assistant poetry editor with Flypaper Mag, and he has work on or forthcoming in Yemassee, RHINO, Southern Indiana Review, The Journal, and www.andersongeoff.com.