Anorexic, In a Mexican Restaurant

When the skeletal boy drifts in, everything’s
ruined. I can’t eat as planned. I have to look; he’s
asked for that. I recognize him: joyless as a crow. He waits for
food like he wants it. Squeezes lemon in his iced water. Wears jewelry
- a bracelet today - because wrists, skin over joints, look finer
with silver. I’m betting now; he’ll eat half a taco,
sit over the meal and hope his phone will ring. Someone, please,
steal his occasion to be sated
. By the time his order is up,
my food is cold.

**

At the Mexican fast-food stand one block from home, I was nine
and in line three times a week for a bean and cheese burrito. It
was 1975, the year we moved away from my father. Once, at a table
behind us, I listened to a man and boy talk. I heard the older one:
you know, I shot a guy once. Was he bragging? Was he confessing?
I wanted to ask did you kill him? Wanted to say - even
then - why are you telling a kid this? When we left, one
of the man’s eyes met mine and the other reeled, loose. The
place wasn’t the same; I was afraid we'd see him and that
he’d shoot someone else. It was hard to swallow while thinking
that.

**

At the sea, I vanished into a hole dug – deep – to
make me even with the ground: hips and breasts identical to sand-swells.
I recognized the spice, sandy clove of the ice plant and its purple
woven threads, spread in midday heat. Later, at a Mexican restaurant,
I ordered an adult’s meal: I’ll have everything.
The man across the table didn’t care it was a lie. Later,
I covered my face from him. Drop your hands, he said, and
I did. When he said, now, kiss my neck, I opened my mouth
to that: the faintest version of take me. That kind of
consumption can be plenty. Like licking a plate clean.

**

The boy of bones never builds a house. He lives within skin, a
breed of possibility. Between new and finishing, he’s not
yet, more please
, a nascent nothing.

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