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Rita Feinstein

The Anorexic Bakes Gingerbread

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Profound hunger
and a tongue like a spinnerbait,
dragging your body up through ice.

I tempt you with gingerbread,
a cookie tree in a coconut blizzard,
grunting under the weight

of chocolate kisses,
cranberries dark and sincere,
frosting the color of blood

in bathwater.
Salt filled my sex
and I cast myself like a net

over you, but hit
ice and aluminum—
nowhere even to drown.

A heart-shaped cookie
cracks with cold.
A mermaid corkscrews

her tail between your legs.
You don't love her either.
So why do I keep cutting

holes in the ice?
I'd rather turn to sea-foam.
I'd rather evanesce.

In Which I Get Revenge and a Blood Transfusion

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The plastic tubes
have convulsed at the kinks
and broken free of my flesh,
leaving three slanted openings.

My veins, cut like mouthy trilliums,
burst against the bathroom mirror.

I bleed and bleed.

Ironclad clovers
bloom from my cuts
like insistent kisses
full of lipstick.

I bleed and bleed.

I wish you could see this.
I wish I could flick my wrists
at you, splatter you, see you cringe
against the reddening wallpaper
while I call for the doctor.

Having accomplished my mission,
I can be bundled in bandages
and sent home
with my gauzy mittens folded
smugly in my lap.

Café Corazón

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Were you as hungry as me,
this muscle would be meat
like any other meat.
You could slap cold cuts of my heart
on your sandwich bread
and fingerpaint it with mayonnaise and mustard.
Try some hickory-smoked atrium
with a garnish of marinated capillary.
Have a ventricle tempura platter
with hemoglobin dipping sauce.
Try it raw in sushi.

Please, please eat it.
Don't you like what I'm cooking for you?
Did you find a hair in your cream of artery soup?
I told those kitchen bitches to wear hairnets,
told them you were no ordinary customer,
told them we couldn't serve you common heart idioms:
eat your heart out, change of heart, heart to heart,
have a heart, heart and soul, give one's heart,
lose one's heart, from the bottom of my heart,
do your heart good, know it by heart, take it to heart,
a man after my own heart, good at heart,
heart in mouth, I heart New York, heartless, all my heart,
heart of gold, hearts and flowers, hearts and minds,
heart's desire, heart of hearts, home is where the heart is,
heart of ice, heart of stone,
wear your heart on your sleeve, break your heart,
close to my heart, I heart you.

Because I do heart you.
And I know it defies restaurant conduct
to meet the chef—I'm supposed to be backstage,
the faceless entity conjuring steaming platters
of heart en flambé—
but I need to feed you my heart myself
need its juices to verify themselves on my palm,
need to feel your lips close around each finger.

Wait! Don't go!
Can't I interest you in dessert?
Can't I interest you in four fat chambers
chockablock with caramel,
latticed in a fudgy shell,
served over vanilla ice cream
and scattered with pistachio crumbs?

Then tell me: what am I supposed to do
with this heart in my hand,
this heart that just keeps dripping,

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