Everyboy comes to me at a church potluck
perfumed with frankincense and lasagna.
He believes I am a gentle bird girl
in my tulip sweater and raincoat.
I am not so gentle, but I act as if
and what I act as if I might become.
He says: Let’s be still and know refreshments.
Tater tot casserole is wholesome fare.
Let’s get soft, let’s get really, really soft.
I do not say: I am frightened of growing plump;
something about the eye of a needle
and sidling right up close to godliness.
Instead I dig in,
stuff myself on homemade rolls,
tamale pie and creamed chipped beef with noodles.
I eat until my bird bones evanesce.
I eat until I bust from my garments.
I become the burping circus lady
with meaty ham hocks and a sow’s neck.
Everyboy says: Let’s get soft, even softer.
We vibrate at the frequency of angel cake.
Our throats fill with ice cream glossolalia.
The eye of the needle grows wider.
There is room at the organ bench.
Melissa Broder is the author of the poetry collection WHEN YOU SAY ONE THING BUT MEAN YOUR MOTHER (Ampersand Books).