Day 38 – Sushi Love

One roll,
Two rolls,
Three, four, five

Sushi on a Friday,
What a time to be alive

Salmon,
Wasabi,
Spicy tuna,
Eel

Rolled and chopped in pieces
Is my favorite kind of meal

Maki,
Tempura,
Nigiri,
Ponzu

I’m happy as a panda
Sharing sushi rolls with you

Day 29 – Cheeseburger

Do you ever get halfway through a cheeseburger
in a rush
and stop suddenly to realize
there’s only half of it left?

And that if you don’t slow down
it will be gone soon?

Do you ever think
what a shame it would be
to eat a whole cheeseburger
without stopping to appreciate,
to savor,
what you’re doing?

To get to the end
with nothing left in your hands
and not even remember
the taste?

Day 2 – Someone Else’s Madness

Everyone’s welcome at this table,
everyone’s chair shoved in close from behind-
love to see ya,
come be one of us.

But grace takes too long
and only one gets a turn
and dinner can’t start
until he’s through

and we’re starving.

Now the platters have arrived-
as we lift off the covers,
some of us are digging right in.

But some of us are glancing ’round
for somebody to notice
it’s all rotten, all spoiled,
all wrong.

We can’t leave the table
and we can’t look away
as our friends smile
and eat ’til they’re full

and we’re starving.

This table was set for us all
but we’ll be dead
before we eat someone else’s
madness.

The others will follow behind.

Year 2: Day 163 – The Ways She Tells Me She Knows She’s In Love Over Thai Food

I’ve been watching her twirl her pad thai noodles
around on her fork since the day I was born,
since we walked in the door,
since yesterday when I answered her
autocorrect “ketchup” text.
I know she can’t use chopsticks.

There is a dialogue running beneath our feet,
deep in the crevices with my diamond one-liners,
unspoken but merry in their pressurized madness.

She knows, she says, she’s in love.
“I know it because she’s not eating,
not even those sweet little pea-pod things that I love,
that I’m burning to sneak off her plate
when she looks away.”

But she knows it because she never has felt
so strongly. “I once had a kidney stone…”
She knows it because they’re so comfortable.
“I’m having a vision of Nazis playing Jenga-
I’d invite her to this delusion but I see
she’s a little preoccupied.”
She knows it just because. “The Earth is flat,
are you going to eat that yet?”

She gets a take-out box. Don’t the worst
of our rotten best friends fall in love
and get take-out boxes?
Can’t they learn to spell “catch up”
and use their chopsticks properly?

52 Flashes of Fiction: Week 18 – Groceries

Even homebodies have to eat, and though I was already pretty agoraphobic by that point, grocery shopping was the one venture into the outside world I took pleasure in. Of course, it had to be done around 1 or 2 in the morning when there were few people around, and on Saturdays it seemed that everybody was downtown, yelling and puking vodka into trashcans or doing God knows what else and not at all interested in crowding me in the soup aisle.

Because of my condition I was never any good at dating, which to me was just one terrifying public frolic after another- movie theatres and mini-golf and bars and malls and restaurants- nowhere I ever wanted to be. I couldn’t imagine trying to get to know someone while having to politely excuse myself to the restroom every ten minutes to breathe into a paper bag.

But loneliness affects us all, and the few attempts I did make didn’t last long. People tend to get some shifty ideas about you when you’re always inviting them to your place as a first date, as well as the second and third. Sitting on opposite sides of the couch apparently bores men very quickly. I guess I saw where they were coming from, so I joined this dating website and made sure I specified: “Looking for a grocery shopping buddy.”

I didn’t think it was an odd request; I’ve seen much weirder things. Most of the men I interacted with were curious, thinking perhaps it was some sort of joke, but a few agreed to the date, with mediocre results. These turned out to be more along the lines of me shopping while they walked alongside my cart trying the same lines they’d use in a bar, pausing every so often while I squeezed avocadoes or sniffed candles. They didn’t even buy anything.

It wasn’t until I’d given up on the whole thing that I literally stumbled into Jeremy. There he was, 2:30 on a Saturday morning, in Cookie Monster pajama bottoms, loading one of those big 18-packs of paper towels onto the shelf under his cart. I didn’t see him crouching down like that when I turned the corner and ran right into him.

I’m sure you can imagine the scene. Just drum up something like what you’ve seen in your average rom-com: girl smashes into boy, boy comically rubs his head or elbow as girl feverishly apologizes. Boy insists it was his fault for buying paper towels in such quantities, that it isn’t good for the environment, that he’s heading to the housewares department to get some real dish towels right this minute. Girl snorts; it’s endearing, they chit chat. Play crappy music, fade to black.

Jeremy and I got along well once we discovered our secret mutual love of food and the process of buying it. Some nights we’d get stuff to cook a fancy breakfast, other nights we’d go all out decorating a cake or making sushi. When we’d been together a while it was more like boxes of hot pockets and cans of beans, but I thought it was mostly alright.

Until one day I sensed something was wrong- women can do that, y’know, we always know what’s up. I knew I was losing him but I wanted to know why and to whom so I followed him. I followed him in the middle of the day, through sunlight and traffic and the horribly stuffy world I try at all costs to avoid. I followed him straight to the Whole Foods downtown, parking lot full of people pushing carts and strollers, like little ants taking food from the hive. Jeremy was buying fruits and vegetables in the daytime, alone.

Year 2: Day 81 – A Minimalist Perspective On Vacations And Food

There is something in me
that can’t quit at quittin’ time,
something that runs until it collapses,
that doesn’t believe in vacations-
long spats of couch suicide
and boxes of Queen Ann cherry cordials.

Never at any time do I wish
to go to Disney World.
I don’t know what I’d do.
I eat the same thing for dinner
four nights in a row.

Though my laughter in hidden places
is vibrant and real,
I am the other hand in relation
to a spoon-fed dream
which would tempt me with all the things
I haven’t tasted.

And the war-needle of pity
would have me believe that’s something wrong,
something in me that turns away
all their treats-
they will not understand
or they refuse to accept
that even though I am not full,
I am not hungry.