By Shannon Sankey
I subsisted then, nil per os: allowed no food
by mouth for one year to rest my guts.
You lifted with your hands hot thing
after hot thing to your good face
while I sat alone with you in flannel pants,
black binder balanced on my bones, book
of recipes clipped from magazines, plotting
my first meal and my secondthirdfourth,
sucking weak a watermelon Jolly Rancher
and a chocolate Ensure shake through a straw.
Never mind your duck egg,
your beating cobra heart.
I will forget your ease, how you moved
in the dark the way men can do.
You made me lonesome for the table,
the table and the two chairs:
what warm scaffolding, what
swift, impossible loss.
Shannon Sankey's poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming at the Academy of American Poets, Glass: A Journal of Poetry's Poets Resist Series, Storyscape, SWWIM, Visible Poetry Project, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2017 Academy of American Poets University & College Prize. She holds an MFA from Chatham University, where she was the Whitford Fellow. She is the founder of Stranded Oak Press. www.shannonsankey.com