If I had a nickel for every tear I cried trying to abolish the concept of emptiness from my stomach I’d have enough to have its seed removed from my gut. Because every tear is just a money order that happily bends itself over to take the finger of interest until my innards are rotten roots and maladaptive stems.
I embody the botanical garden my gastroenterologist lives to study because, even as a child, I was told to appreciate its spirit and the harmonious feeling of growth and dirt within my enzymes even though I did nothing to nourish it.
How can I appreciate its beauty when I walk alongside people who have never had to cut off limbs and empty our entire bodily systems just to function day to day? How many problems have woven themselves between the joints of my bones until my gravity output is as overdrawn as my bank account?
Because I know that it’s easier to work on an empty stomach than it is to sleep on one, because hunger is capable of crawling through my dreams and robbing me of the definition of idyllic.
“Come!” It beckons, those four letters cloaked in the same fondness I imagine caring to nurse. “I bring you wheat. I bring oil. And wine.”
I eye those people who walk ahead of me, plates full of I am entitled to a well being, and feel the temptation eclipsing and pigmenting my skin.
I empty out my pockets. I only have ten cents.
But it doesn’t matter. I know I shouldn’t feed the flowers.
Justin’s Note: Anna Keeler is a poet and fiction writer attending Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. Her work has been published or is upcoming in Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Red Fez Literary Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, Potluck Magazine, Leopardskin & Limes Literary Journal, The Merrimack Review, Outsider Poetry, and Smaeralit.
Reading Anna’s poems is an experience that ends too soon. That’s why her set of prose poems you’re reading here will be rationed over the course of this next week.