Instructions for Hunger


The unruly mango pit you gave up
on peeling from my teeth.
Send yourself to bed without supper.
Boil water and refuse that tea
I kept for years for a special
occasion that never arrived.
Suck on honeysuckle blossoms,
their fleeting sweetness enough
of this earth. The unopened jam jars
and shrub in the pantry soured
from ants and mold. A promise,
a primrose, a poison, soaked
and plumped for molds I fill
with cake batter but never bake.

Alyse Bensel’s poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Zone 3, Quarterly West, New South, Bone Bouquet, and elsewhere. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Not of Their Own Making (dancing girl press) and Shift (Plan B Press) and serves as the Book Reviews Editor at The Los Angeles Review. A PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of Kansas, she lives in Lawrence.