44 Questions to Ask While Bingeing

After Benji Hart

  1. How many hands have touched this food?
  2. What were their intentions?
  3. How vast is the range?
  4. What makes them hands at all?
  5. How many seeds survived their birth for this?
  6. Did you count yourself?
  7. From sprout to pluck, how many breaths old was the oldest?
  8. What’s become of its homeland?
  9. How many breaths will it add to yours?
  10. Or is this a thing that takes?
  11. Which things were born dead for this?
  12. Did you count yourself?
  13. Which born free?
  14. Which born food?
  15. Is there a state in-between?
  16. How old was the well of that answer?
  17. If governments and their signed scrolls are Plato’s cave wall shadows, where is the real sun?
  18. What’s become of its homeland?
  19. How many generations removed from the land are you?
  20. What floor takes its place?
  21. What is it built on top of?
  22. Are the people who tended that place still alive?
  23. Are there any living descendants?
  24. Is their language still spoken on earth?
  25. If you heard it, would your feet twitch?
  26. Or does dead mean gone?
  27. How many gone things in your place?
  28. Did you count yourself?
  29. What does your body and the day it makes cost?
  30. What is its price, in gone things?
  31. Is this sustainable? Better—regenerative?
  32. Or will this make you the most gone thing alive?
  33. Is god or the human the cave wall shadow?
  34. Who says the shadow is nothing at all?
  35. Are you still eating?
  36. Who?
  37. What for?
  38. What have you grown in its place?
  39. How much is enough?
  40. Is enough a place or a count?
  41. Is there a state in-between?
  42. Or does enough mean gone?
  43. Did you enough yourself?
  44. In the language of the oldest gone thing, how do you say devour?

A Financial Planner Asks About My Goals, or Golden Shovel with Cardi B’s “Money”

Never touch-starved again, forever a chub-bellied baby sexed big
Skin a heatmapped catalogue of hands still wet still grasping still blood-fat
Behind every steam-slammed door, playplush beds as good as checks
Whole home stitched with only these rooms, only this near-rip big
Kitchen table perfect island for the stranding, meals propped heaven-large
Backyard a honey-dripped grove named Eden, ripe land of no bills
Whatever drops first, spice-adorned, sauce slicked back-to-front
Splayed open slow, tempting a spill, grateful to be devoured like I’ll
Make my giggling groommates, spit-tethered hips churned tender flip
Down smeared-open mouths or whole wedding cakes or any drown we like
Just measure by the fistful how thick this slick can coat a sigh, add ten
And that’d be balm enough to dizzytrip my lonely and her cartwheels

Theory of Plate Tectonics

She says New England hoards college girls like cherries in its cheek,
tongue-tying legs to knots, making party tricks out of people.
Says it’s an old currency, wads of tangled stems tumored with
unfinished bows. Says the quick ones learn to curl like ribbon.
The brave ones learn to run with their hands. The pretty ones
knot and knot into rope and callus, none of their blood stays long.
But half butane, half lemon juice, all pit, no skin, us sad ones
are a new fruit. I tell her we should shower more. Eat something
besides black pepper and rum. I tell her darling, the teapot’s
melted to the stove, the mugs chipped in hazardous places,
dropped from scalded hands to blades, stealing lips from our guests.
She reminds me we have no guests here, just the half-dead boys
we’ve specialized in trapping, leggy never-giants too grateful
to run so now cups brimming with sliced mouths, kitchen table
littered with scabs, we pick over the charred parts: thirteen matchheads
sawed from stems with his sharpest key (ours now); half a collarbone,
still warm (ours now); the lightbulb he almost smashed into her throat
when he learned not all flightless soft-bodied girls are fireflies
(ours to shatter in the rooftop shadows just like one of us).
She tells me Paris is all glitter and ash this time of year,
red-velvet gloved and scowled. Tells me Cape Town paves its streets with wings
that shimmy for stray coins. Says she’s got a naked man waiting
in Havana and his neighbor owes her seven cigarettes.
She’s been studying plate tectonics. Whispering spells for Pangaea.
Lighting candles for the Great Rift Valley with bootleg magma
from Kilimanjaro. Branding Himalayas to her calves’
Appalachia. Speed testing smoke signals hitched to waves.
She asks me the difference between arson and wildfire.
I say arson is chain-smoking with her Tinder wax doll collection.
Wildfire misusing match blaze as daylight. Should have said
the difference depends on what’s burning. Should have said
we have such old bones for such new people, more cinder than marrow.
We feel safe in all the wrong places, most at home in flames.

Undelivered Message to the Sky: November 9, 2016

You were in my dream last night. Titanic falling.
Every cop siren pocking your blue. Shots fired
fired far above my head by trembling men, and then
a terrible rain.          Still, you sank,
and all the creatures bowed—except the humans.
We broke ourselves screaming, but there was no sound.
In that silence, something wicked came aloud.
Before you landed, nothing left but littered,
gaping mouths. When I woke up,

I felt it. A twitching in my teeth.
The rumble of a nearby rapture. I opened the blinds
and a pack of white women were wailing down Maple,
crying into potholes, writhing in the street
like worms. One saw me, then the wails grew
and turned into a chorus of sorry sorry sorry
so sorry we’re sorry and I wished Yemoja
would sling an ocean out my throat. But all I had
was English—blindfolds, trick knives,
no real magic. Nothing in their language
makes them disappear. That’s why the guns
and cages. Why they cut our tongues. Because
we would call, and you would come.