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

catcalled

followed

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

made

the flesh anonymous

 

 

eggs

bleached white

their labels lacking words

silenced

 

but i could taste the cage in the yolk

 

cutting fat

away from gristle

watching thin tendons tear

 

realising

as i was chewing

that eating meat

was absurd

 

realising

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

before

 

and i notice now

while i chew