This poem was initially conceived as a companion piece for choreography. The two dancers, almost perfect reflections of one another, are drawn to one another even as they experience a mutual tension: unbeknownst to one another, they are dancing a in strange helix of reciprocal jealousy (that moment when you realize that the person you've spent time resenting might just be looking across the table at you wondering how you're able to do what you do). It parses the power of jealousy and the cognitive dissonance one might feel as that emotion unfolds. "Make A Meal of It" encourages the reader to not only recognize the feeling, but to embrace and love themselves through it. It is only by emerging from the darkness of shame can we bring our highest selves, our most loving selves, into the light of recognizing our own needs.
Make a Meal of It
Like a jade spear, it pierces my chest
thru breastbone and goodwill
Blood darkens poisonous and my muscles twitch; my thoughts fall away like wet bark and mushrooms grow in the stench of it
As the fungus from the shit, so grows that loathsome tree:
its branches reaching up into laughing clouds I cannot hear
its roots burrowing for warmth I cannot feel
Still, it bears fruit and I eat it worms and fucking all
Do not bite the hand that feeds you.
Do not smell her hair or look at her eyes.
See how the dermis stretches pearlescent sheer over bone and vein
So languid she swims through the same river whose current consumes me:
my legs are too weak to get out of the mud
but her feet never touched the ground
That voice speaking only dewdrops
Drowns out my cacophonic blood
“Child, sheath your impulse.”
she is whispering now
“Wash your wounds in river water, fill your lungs, and quiet that heart. The mirror only shows light, and light is not truth. Truth,” she says, “Is up to us.”
Do not bite the hand that feeds you;
Swallow it whole.
Alex Lara-Theus is an emerging writer from the Tar River Basin in eastern NC. They are a recorder of the mundane and a lover of sacred shapes. They love their children and most mysterious things. Alex can be contacted at email@example.com or via astral travel--the only way to fly.
Alex's Book Recommendation
I'm really stuck on If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson. It's very on-brand for me.