Spinach Lasagna

by Cassandra Leone

You turn the crank on the pasta machine slowly
with one hand & the other gently cradles the noodle

as it rolls out in a delicate ribbon. Together we lay
them in floured sheets on a dish. They are long & thin

like I am. Like you said of my torso & legs in bed
the night before. Where afterwards I rolled on my side

with relief you could never know the depths of. You
are helping me layer the fresh pasta between bechamel

& tomato & spinach ricotta. We taste each bowl of filling
as we go. I lick my fingers & I think of being long & thin. I

look at your fine hands & imagine the way they’ll cup
my hips later. The apartment fills with the rich smell

of garlic and caramelized parmesan. When it’s done cooking
we let it rest & you kiss my neck in the kitchen. We are

barefoot. Tenderness, I think, is not what I deserve. & I cut
into the lasagna. I put a big helping into a bowl

for you. It steams up the silver of the fork. I cut a sliver
for myself while you sit down at the table. I take a bite

while still standing so you can see I’ve eaten some. Yes,
I eat dinner with practiced deception. That same focused

poise with which you prepared our meal is how
I’ll attenuate. This is not such a big lie, I tell myself. Before bed,

I'll go to the kitchen & eat two almonds & a date. Just
enough to make love to you. To mathematically estimate

the amount of myself that is allowed to have value
in space. Because the best meal is over & over & over

the one that will smell & kiss & run his hands
up my slender body & call me small.

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