Today's poem is by Lesley Wheeler


When you are always right, it is hard to diet.
When your longhand thank-you notes flutter off,
pretty stamps postmarked like dawn at the beach,
it feels awful to wish death on a person.
In a nearby city children have no food,
bodies simmer by the curb, old men drown
in attics, while you measure out sixty
calories of chardonnay. On the radio
an expert says, we are all nine meals away
from murder
. Dieters must be ruthless.
You scream at your offspring. Your unbuttered
bones scrape in your hip sockets. When your spouse
telephones from his mother's apartment
and says, her friends put her on a suicide
, you think, those sadistic bastards,
she might be in pain for the rest of her life,
why shouldn't she kill herself?
because you
have become unsweetened and fat-free.
Bruises darken inside you like rot
around a peach pit although the rose
skin still glows. If she does not kill herself,
you realize, she will die slowly,
pulling him back for longer and longer
weekends, she will cry in his arms while I
. Like dawn at the beach, you see how bad
you are, a vast salty empty badness
so hateful its words fizz against the shore,
so hungry it could swallow love whole.

Copyright © 2009 Lesley Wheeler All rights reserved
from 5AM
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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