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Katherine Davis

For The Hungry

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For years, I was locked in a recipe box,
Card among cards, blue ink fading to brown.
Numb and conceptual, I had potential,
Dry as a gravy stain, a fleck of stuck sugar.
Silent and shrouded, aging and forgotten,
In leatherette, a heritage descended from
Hands spotted and veined to unwrinkled flesh.
Gradually, the other cards dropped to the dust
At the bottom of the cupboard, relinquished secrets
To cobwebs, shadows, and mites. But one day,
My mind turned into a knife, my body, into a wooden
Block, scratched and scarred, but hardened for
The cut, the dice. Whose hands were these--
My mother’s, my God’s, Fortune’s, beneficent
Chance coming to revivify? I was wielded and won
A mountain of tomatoes, squash, spinach, garlic,
And onion. Out of me came a broth, for a soup,
For bellies needing to be stuffed, topped off with
Spices, so recently alive they scent me still.

The Shower Dream

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One morning, wish fulfilled, I wake changed from human body
To pane of glass, a sliding door on a shower, steam, soap streaks,
Fingerprints, but immune to urges for heat, sex, cleanliness.
Finally flat and clear, I manifest the immunity of a thing, not a nose
To scratch, a belly to flex with toast and prunes, a throat and veins
Needing to drink even glasses of tepid water. I am content to be
Manipulated, useful stopgap to flooding the bathroom tile, insulator
Of those who still feel, cringe, and pimple. From my position, I see
My fellow window, who opens onto dogs, cars, and bundled people.
Rational as an electric scale, functional as a nail clipper, I renounce
Ambition, move silently in my metal track, not a voyage, but a destiny,
No hunger, no pain, wet not from tears, but from a store-bought head.


I have transferred my thoughtfulness into muscle,
The brain being a rather useless appendage, always
Driving in circles, digging furrows where no seeds
Will grow. Over the fallow fields, I power my body,
Levitating above potholes in my own knowledge,
Icy patches of regret, obsession like eternal traffic
Preventing me from moving. Abstraction and distraction
Disappear from flesh, as I turn into one large tendon,
Stretched into flourishing sensation. Music from a free
Jukebox echoes emptily between my ears. What a relief:
To be an animated joint of meat, not a mental vegetable
Roasting forever on a sheet at 400 degrees.

I Practice Being an Android

I aim to be an improved mechanical man,
No time for breasts, ovaries, uterus,
My pocked skin smooths, silvers into steel,
Cleared of flabby, flagging innards,
New filters clean air, circulate sterile
Cool, finally hip and heartless, unhaunted
By a history of awkwardness, doubt, stuttering,
Sorry, no more, I don’t talk, just process,
Impervious to the vicissitudes of nature,
Fatigue and pain not even a memory,
My brain, devoid of hardship, only oiled
Coordinates, jet plane on autopilot, lifting
And landing, service without turbulence to
Any destination, foolproof as a can opener
For food only mutating humans devour.

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