The All-Saints, GA, Overeaters Support Group (meeting #18)                                                         Finalist for the James Hearst Prize

by Devi S. Laskar

(Published in the North American Review

First we talk about watermelons -

a modern, American reference

to family picnics, seed-spitting contests,

abating a thirst for summer love

by eating weightless pink flesh.

Then our study of the Greek myths

seeps through our tongues as pomegranates

are hurled onto our invisible

table, pungent olives, golden

apples, blood oranges, Medea.

Someone comments on sorrow

as an appetite suppressant –

death provokes fasting, in some cases

a strict diet of bitter remembrance

until the taste for life returns.

Others blurt out hors d’oeuvres stories

at the theatre, cocktail parties, movies.

And at weddings, how the cake is too sweet,

the toasting champagne always falls flat

by the time the waiter reaches their glasses.

We discuss the reluctant meals we swallow

when there is no money leftover after rent:

white bread that’s three days old, noodles,

peanut butter without the jelly,

lentil soups with rice, bags of popcorn.

No one mentions why we come here,

the way we slide into our chairs, batter

stealing home, without notice, without

admitting that we want to soufflé

our bodies from landfills to temples.