The body is a made up thing
so my parents claim to have a hold
on my life—that which they gave
can be taken away should I
make a fool out of you or me.
My mother can have my neck
but she chooses that of a turkey.
This she stews tenderly but the flesh
still hangs to the bone, hiding
tight in the grasp and groove of that
complexity. Someone broke
that neck, bent it into a delicacy
for common folk. We feast.
My mother chooses a thick gravy
to smother that which she loves
but does not tear it apart completely.
When my father says son
it is an act of possession, a reminder
of who’s flesh and bone I am made.
This isn’t that complex: I know
what a child’s place is and simmer
between utterance and defiance,
cradling the hard body of my soft
throat. Their mouths clean
meat from bone through teeth
and tongue—a sucking I hear
in the next room as a warning call.
Then the sound of dry, white bones
dropping into plates I am called to clean.
I like to think of care this way:
a metal spoon ready to strike at will,
to act as a knife, or to fill a bowl
with a love this thick.