Appetite, Food as Metaphor

An Anthology of Women Poets
(Co-editor, BOA Editions)

The Scales

That was when I knew I was in trouble, the increments
This worldly fat, eating as avoidance
At first it required major indulgence, Chez A cuisine
Pate maison in a massive bowl, boeuf a la mode
Then merely lunch at Kirala, floating oil soup
Swollen noodles, tamari sauce
A pocketful of vacuum packed cashews
Cappuccino with deprived milk
Soon the merest infraction, the subtlest forgetting
Imagining I could get away with it, with a little
Like a perpetual thirteen-year-old after double portions
Drooping gape-mouthed and hawkeyed
Before the open refrigerator, cooling off summer
Gawking at a foreglimpse of eternal emptiness
The scales, inhumane, untouched by argument
Registering whatever our mouth opens for
Sometimes I’d dream buffets spread origin to finis
Slabs of meat in winy sauces, buttery legumes
At the far end where old age is, oozing berry pies
With a crust – Oh Emancipated Powers! such a crust!
My craving increasing when I interpreted
The advent of not eating
As nothing adding up, even the scales
Tumbling like plummet-stone into the dissolving maw
Perversely it never stagnates, never slackens, never terminates
Amidst my soggy wish to settle down, slough off
I found a seat next to someone dainty
Keeping in her clampedshut lip a grudge against me
Her mother the universe, for not –
I smile and talk at intermission and after part two
Say what resembles truth and go home
Beholden: in one dish abundance in the other
Empty sack, absent heart
Between them the mysterious fulcrum
four-sided pyramid
vertical cone
secret of stability
pure Noguchi shape