Winner of The Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry
selected by Stephen Dobyns
FEEDING THE HUNGRY,
GIVING DRINK TO THOSE WHO THIRST
…I need not feel grief, I can eat grief…
–Sara Suleri, Meatless Days
The table is prepared:
the burgundy as robust as blood
coursing through a torso, the crusty bread
uncut and hot, the honey, the butter.
In this gust of time, our lives
seem nearly perfect.
Against the butter knife, the bread board, our touch
is brief and premediated. Honey floats on my tongue,
a last still point of assurance
before our cascade of grief.
My body hazy with wine, I lean back
into my misbelief that life is
everlasting. We receive the night as a third body
arrived to eat and drink. We’ve forgotten
how bodies transfuse themselves
into night, first an ordinary
flake of skin, an unmissed eylash,
then an entire birthmark or scar
twisted among the roots
of a field, soaked up into a tassel of wheat,
kneaded into a loaf
which multiplies as we leave ourselves
at this irresistible edge of hunger,
this brink of thirst.