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.