I Consider Violence

When the starvation-hair appears
all over my body, you call it fascinating,
which is not the same as beautiful.
I never decide what to wish for first,
food or you. Or rather, eating food again
or never again eating you. Your favorite part
of me, my cupped hipbone, empty
as a half mango scooped clean of its flesh.
Your least favorite part, my hunger.

I learn to fill myself with other things:
the julienned light in the bedroom, mouthfuls
of Debussy from the old piano, the endless suck
of the toilet, which, bravely, never stops running.
Even vowels become impossible luxuries,
so round they seem indulgent against my tongue.

I consider violence after hearing that on death row
you get one last perfect meal. I imagine the photo
in the newspaper story, where I look so

I think of the woman in the Bible
who asks for John’s head on a platter.
Maybe she was only hungry.
Maybe she wanted to be satisfied.

From Santa Tarantula (University of Notre Dame Press, 2024) by Jordan Pérez. Copyright © 2024 by Jordan Pérez. Used with the permission of the publisher.