I wish I could say
I feel no less for having been crushed
into a simple, shelf-stable cylinder,
a mother serene as peanut butter.
A thousand possibilities
have been suspended
beneath a foiled paper lid.
Preserved and cupboarded
in patient anticipation.
But I am half-used up.
Peaks and canyons from hasty knife-work
are a sign as sure as footprints and flags
that someone has already claimed this jar.
I grow hollow.
I find it hard to swallow
disappearing into the bodies of my children.
Though I give myself over to being spread
across raw-edged celery or softer bread,
I still cling to the corners of a rounded life.
I tell myself I am no less for having been gouged.
But I am never so empty
that a small hand twisting a red lid
would fail to find a mouth forever formed
to say “okay.”
Cover image by Alisa Anton.
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