You threaten me with your ice-white
plates, your slavery. My cadaverous ingratitude
moans from my belly, home at last and clutching
a bunch of ragged carnations
white as cartilage. I bought them
reduced from a water-bucket,
recognized their wasting.
I hand them to you, an apology
you barely sniff at, mashing spuds like ritual,
pale clods stiff in the pan.
Slaved away, you said, heaping your heart,
your crimson vessels, like spaghetti-ribbons
onto a plate. This is what I do to you,
blood-gravy, drain you over the sink
every time I put myself out with the waste,
the giveaway fragrant steam
of a buried, dust-binned dinner–
your daughter, bird-bones, legs like starlings,
the jagged vulture beating cool rings
of resistance, circling the brain
and lipid-white moon.
The night-beams sicken and shake
as you look on in horror at him
picking me clean from the bone.
Anatomical medals of war.
I try to smile in the mirror
but the mirror hates me, spits out my image
like bad meat. I lift my hand from my hair,
remove a fistful of scribbles. Mother,
do I haunt you? You have called me a ghost
for weeks now, tried to put a stop
to my flirtations with the sallow-faced skull
and his slim black hood
feeding the starving vultures.
They crack and burst from their fragile eggs,
a basket of crying skulls.
I decline dessert as they flap and peck
and ask to leave the table.