Lisa Alvarado


I alternate.
One day fleshy and sedated,
I swathe myself in thick clothes,
thick as my thoughts,
thick as my tongue
that will not speak.
Another day I am pale, brittle.
A shadow with spindly legs
and shuffling feet.
In a cracked voice,
I say nothing is wrong.
My tears pool beneath me.
My lover watches me and worries,
his gaze a silent tether.
I still live.
I will not be lost.
But I cannot practice
the old rituals of affection.
They are beyond me,
this grief makes me forget.
I want so much to reach him,
to braid myself to him,
to be palpable beyond sorrow.
But I cannot find my body.
Instead, I cook.
I make steaming plates
of food for him.
There are mounds of squash,
full and voluptuous.
The skin peaks in the middle
like a nipple.
Butter runs down like sweat.
I watch him slice pink steak.
I leave it pink deliberately.

I watch him
wrap his tongue around it.,
the juice running down the corners of his mouth.
Pink flesh, his mouth, his tongue.
I ache with memory.
There is more.
I cup his hands around hot rolls.
The body is bread,
and bread is a sacrament.
In this ritual, I promise
I will remember,
I will come back to this body.
The time of grieving will pass.
I will live.