we have no ritz crackers left in the kitchen

by Dina Folgia

so my mom eats her dinner of peanut butter and jelly
on saltines.     she uses a cheese knife     with a rounded edge
to swirl the two spreads together, shoves them in her mouth
whole     sighing around sharp white corners     a starving michelin meal
she tells me she lost thirty-five pounds, so thankful to be rid
of the depression     weight but not     the depression
and when I ask her what she ate today she says: a yogurt
a corn muffin     oh     I must have had more than that?
I have to remind my own mother to eat, the woman who
fed me      from a green honey spoon     and kept my belly full
our scale growing up was white and spring-loaded, you could hear it
in the middle of the night     each time she stepped on.     show me slivers
of light escaping the doorway, splay them across the hall carpet
as she runs the tap     and pretends      to wash her hands
our water bill nips at our heels but she keeps her teeth clenched
caramel-flavored protein     in the blender      with our stimulus check
we make enough money to survive but never enough to satisfy
that’s hunger too, right?      the need to find something      out of your control
and swallow it hard enough to keep it from getting stuck
in your throat.     she begged me once to stop      disappearing
but never stood next to me long enough to compare our
twin shrinking waists.     there aren’t enough      shopping lists in the world
to force-feed her the sting of her own reticence
that gargantuan fear     that need     for nothing.

Dina Folgia is an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work, which has been nominated for Best of the Net and the AWP Intro Journals Project, has appeared in Ninth Letter, Dunes Review, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Variant Lit, and others. She currently reads and edits for Blackbird. Keep up with her work at https://dinafolgia.com/

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