I Really Don’t Care if Joan of Arc had an Eating Disorder (and other poems)

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Photo by Emma Lloyd

I Really Don’t Care if Joan of Arc had an Eating Disorder

My doctor says it’s all because of my ancestors adapting

to famine in the Pleistocene era. I tell her I would have died

in the Pleistocene era & I don’t know what I’m doing here.

 

Today, Julia is teaching me how to eat – I correct

her pronunciation of lettuce and whole. She tells me to avoid

pasta at night. Let’s talk about avocados. Let’s talk

 

about extra virgin olive oil. About stacks of plates

from the dishwasher, damp and warming the palms.

About electrolytes & iron & how to skin an onion.

 

You have to break the cycle. You shouldn’t cook

with butter. You need to keep those beautiful teeth.

 

Julia says there isn’t an Italian word for oatmeal

& insists I am not a disease.

 

My doctor says animals aren’t any better.

It’s too easy to get a pig to run in circles

or a rat to starve itself.

 

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Yet Here’s a Spot

I am not a hostess. In the kitchen half-shelled lemons drip

on the cutting board,    olive oil slicking pans

of chicken skin. Tongues of thinning cucumber. Wet spoons

dipped in sugar.

 

A spider stalks across the table, needle-legged

& tipping. You’ll be back soon with stacks of canned chickpeas,

avocados & mint. I can’t stop reaching                 dip my chin

to your neck for a sign.

 

Soon you’ll stop trying. Wait

& I’ll swell your throat with water. Split & peel

the scales before serving. I’ll scrub salt from my hands

til they crack.

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Louise 

honey thaws                                               on your tongue,            snakes

my throat.   hands                      hooking –

strange beds                              have rarely agreed with me.

think of women without faces

split,                              thinning to foam.

I know what happens next –

how will you unname this body

 

Eve Kenneally is a first-year MFA student at the University of Montana. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Wooden Teeth, Ripple, Cutbank (All Accounts and Mixture), The New Old Stock and The Sundial Review. 

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