Smile Stew

Smile Stew

I slice
my smile
as though
a lamb
chop onto
the skillet.
Clinks.
Champagne
flutes
on New Year’s.
Extra teeth.
I am cooking you
smile stew.

You have asked
for it many times,
but I tell you
it’s too much
work. I work
too, you know.
Your comeback
is always
the same:
If your belly
aches, no point
to say it shouldn’t.

And the satin
bow in my stomach
tightens because only women
can cook smile stew,
and the knot
becomes stiff and shiny
like my smile, ready
to be ready.

So, I pluck
the light
from my cheeks.
The glare that strains
my eyes into happy
wedges, I use
as garnish.

I serve
it on a glazed
white plate.
My dish
a moon
in the dark.

I clear out—
meaning,
I am gone—
meaning,
I am haunting
my own body.
This husk
slips like a baby
doll into the corner.
Tulle and silk tossed
like arugula
as you take
your seat
and open wide.



Coming soon in new, book-length manuscript, “The Cure for Loneliness.”
First published in Valley Voices: A Literary Review, (Women Poets: A Special Issue) V18, N1, Spring 2018

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