Control Feast

Either you’ve died, or you arrive
beside me at a funeral

patchily reaching out
from your zero gravity chair

to grab the relative achievement
of my stomach.

There is no cute life in me
but I have eaten a great meal

alone successfully, greater
than I have ever kept down before,

full of iron and clotted cream.
I cannot feel everything about you

anymore the way I used to—
the stomach overfills itself so fast

it eats the hunger and the mouth.
I grow enamored of you as an egg

you shake in my direction
then love you evenly, without belief.


Copyright © 2017 by Elizabeth Metzger. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 17, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“As I was losing my dearest friend the poet Max Ritvo to cancer, I was simultaneously trying to get pregnant. The longing both to keep Max close and to have a child made me more aware, grateful, and sometimes resentful of my body's ‘healthy’ but involuntary functions—my physical and emotional metabolism. In ‘Control Feast’ my dying friend converts a moment of emptiness into the blessed fullness of wanting a baby and love for the profound friendship we would soon lose.”
—Elizabeth Metzger