“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

INTAKE FORM AT THE SPRAY TAN OFFICE

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How long would it take you to find $35 worth of products you want?

Can you freeze bananas in their wrappers, I mean skins?

I can’t afford some of the things I want and I call it having morals.

I can’t afford some of the things I don’t want and I call it having morals.

The dress looks good on me the way everything does. You look good on me the way
everyone does.

The opposite is also true.

There’s a lesson in celibacy if you’re someone like me.

After eating, my dog takes the blanket between his teeth and growls. Is it violence
that’s missing?

I can tell when I’m full, but I can’t tell if I like what’s filling me.

I can tell when I’m empty, and I don’t have to decide whether I like it or not.

The period of time between my nails being too short and too long is not discernible.

Four days for a scab to heal.

Who decides how much of an ingredient makes a meal?

If you hate what you eat you’ll grow to love it.

The opposite is also true.

There’s a lesson in celibacy if you’re someone who craves things because they crave
you.

I don’t trust anything that returns to where it came from.

What other animals sleep next to mirrors? Watch their parents grow old?

Violence hides best in the familiar. Flesh gripping flesh bleached into deli meat, leather purse, nylon.

Food for the bugs.

Bites on my legs, gifts I get to open later.

I get to open my mouth later.

Tonight I stained my white dress. Tonight was an event.

I COME FROM PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE

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I come from people who believe
mirrors are the tools
of the Devil
and here I am

in the bed of a man
who wants only
to suck on a collarbone

I hate mothers
and I love my body

The woman sitting next to me
was crying
I did not turn to face her

A sign reassures me
that in the future I can look like me
only with fewer lines

I love mothers
and I hate my body

No brand
No loyalty

I go to CVS
and Walgreens
interchangeably

I hate mothers
and I hate my body

I’D SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITH YOU, IF I COULD

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I run for the feeling
the day after

One thing leaves my body
another takes its place

It is not in our nature to understand
the difference

Between peace and lethargy
Comfort and sacrilege

If you had me as you wished
I’d be famined

and ridden
to your big bed

No one is good
at ignoring a craving

Though some are better
than others

I take you upstairs
but won’t let you stay

Disappointed
when the fruit isn’t spoiled

Didn’t you know
I wanted to waste you

Appears in this issue
Francesca Kritikos is the author of the poetry collection Exercise in Desire (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2022), which was selected as one of Bookshop.org’s Staff Picks.

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