“The Glutton’s Kitchen”

cover of TLR's issue The Glutton's Kitchen. A woman's mouth with red lipstick eating a leafy green



In the Glutton’s kitchen, there is no food. There is a giant refrigerator, but it’s empty. There are cabinets and cupboards, of course, but where the food should be, there’s nothing, not even a cobweb. The plates are stacked and waiting forever. The Glutton sits alone at his table, clutching his fork and knife, his eyes wide open, dreaming.

For the Glutton there is nothing—not even appetite. There is only emptiness, the thick, syrupy air of longing, the desire that trusts its own fulfillment least of all.Why else would he eat so much?

Because, as soon as food appears before him, he stops believing the food is there. With each mouthful, he tries to reaffirm his faith in the sating properties of food. The more he eats the less he has.

Consider this: A glutton for punishment is the only real glutton there is. So, herein is prose and poetry that doesn’t know when to stop, usually because it can’t quite believe it ever started. These writers want more food, of course, but also more love, more sex, more time, more pain. They overindulge to be reminded they exist. What they really want is never on the plate before them. For a hunger that size, they’d need a plate that stretches the hundred and seventy-seven years it would take to drive from here to the sun. What they really want doesn’t fit on a plate.

Likewise, what needs to be said can’t possibly fit into the words on these pages. Silence is ever pressing in. As if a few words could keep it at bay. There are no recipes, no ingredients. We’ve thrown in a bit of everything: the hunger that’s left after divorce and the loss of a job; the kind of sex you can only have in your head; “There are / bananas in the moonlight!”; what’s left “Years from now, hearing the news of your death.”

What you’re about to read is only the beginning of a meal that will never end. We’ve set a place at the table for everybody, though it’s a meal made just for you. We invite you to dig in.

Enjoy the issue.