you asked

if i had any money

you said you were so hungry


i said no

even though

a quarter burned a hole

in my pocket


i didn’t want

to give you

a quarter

of what you asked for


it was 5:30 in the evening

and i had already been



and looked over


men had already

taken so much energy from me

by demanding

my number

that i meet their eye


that by the time you reached me

reached for me

asked me

for money


i was so tired

that i didn’t have the strength to sum up

what kind of man you were

or if you were someone i could trust

even for a moment


half a block later

i watched a young man

in a hoodie

fist bump another man

whose fingernails were black

teeth like tar


two grins, two cigarettes


and my body on the corner

waiting for the light to change


so when you asked me

for a dollar



i had no words

for how privilege had made me so tired


i’m sorry

so sorry

i know privilege makes you tired too


the cognitive dissonance

became something i could taste


blood-soaked styrofoam


the flesh anonymous




bleached white

their labels lacking words



but i could taste the cage in the yolk


cutting fat

away from gristle

watching thin tendons tear



as i was chewing

that eating meat

was absurd



as i was chewing

that tofu


tastes like / smells like / looks like / sounds like / feels like

a sponge

and it’s delicious


there’s something so wonderfully benign

about roasted vegetables


that i’d

never noticed



and i notice now

while i chew