milk and cookies
when i say i finish a bag of Oreos® in a night
i mean i calmly eat the first while unpacking groceries.
i mean i take another one because i ate
the first one wrong.
i mean i grab a glass of milk & five more cookies
because there is a cookie to milk ratio to uphold.
i mean hunger left, but there is still an emptiness.
i mean might as well finish off the row. i hear
it’s unhealthy to eat after 8:00 pm.
i mean just one [two] more
on the long way to the bathroom.
i mean i need something to do with my hands.
i mean i hate myself.
i mean why the fuck not?
i mean there are only 7 left & i’m going to finish them
at some point.
i mean i mourn the pack, wipe the black ashes
across my tongue.
i mean my sideways belly stares at me from every shiny surface.
i mean when i was a kid my mom said i had a hollow leg
because of my appetite.
i mean i think it’s more than my leg.
i mean there is an emptiness
& it is violently hungry.
i mean i am the emptiness
& i am violently hungry.
sixteen when she told me
[what he did to her]
and wounds traversed the soft of her skin
in her kidneys.
[with the other toxins]
i hated the way she hated herself for it.
i hated what my hands
wanted to do before her story and my
at her needing to slow down.
i hated him [his casual way]
that looked so normal.
i kept her secret.
[for that i hated her]
I wanted to kill him.
muscles would keep twitching
until i did.
every time a woman tells me
[stumble through a man’s violence]
i taste bile
bubbling in my throat.
make myself [choke it down again]
i hate how their rapists always look
like me [even when they don’t]
i keep making her story about me.
how i can’t fix this. i hate my rage.
she did not ask for.
i hate that she had to calm me down after she told me.
James Dulin is a poet and educator from Grand Rapids, MI currently living in Boston, MA. He has been a member of the 2012 University of Michigan Slam Team and the 2015 Eclectic Truth Slam Team, winners of the 2015 Red Stick Regional Slam. His work can be found on the Write About Now poetry channel, as well as in FreezeRay Poetry, One Throne, The Boiler Journal and Drunk in a Midnight Choir.