Have you eaten today? I doubt
you’d answer. Still, I ask, hoping you open
your mouth, that this letter reminds you
how I peeled grapefruit on my bedspread,
and you pecked, in the way of your fascination
with birds and the daintier things, the fruit’s
pink flesh right out of my palms, admiring
the thinness of my wrists. You said my hands
would forever carry the scent, bitterly
citrus, remember? Can you still smell them
across three thousand miles and three years
of not speaking since I started eating again?
It hasn’t been easy you know, to let myself
feel hunger, to feed it the way we never did,
to linger in the taste of peanut butter, recalling
the flavor, yours: the first time I felt another’s
tongue in my mouth, the desire to swallow it
whole, (restraint was it?) to keep from biting down,
and your collarbone, so worn, it stunned me:
your mouth then, was all I ate for days.
Replete now, would you still touch, still recognize
this body? Even at rest, your fingers softly pressed
would fall, would fold into hips and stomach,
unable to find the bones we were so fond of
reaching down to once. What would you make
of all this flesh? No need my dear, stay hollow
as you’ve been, and I will bear its weight for you,
but if you ever come, I’ll show you where
I’ve grown, show too where there is room
for you to perch, or even build your nest,
though knowing you, you’ll only leave a plume
against my chest, then fly away, starving and weightless:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++iyour mouth, open.
Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is working on a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Comparative Literature & Literary Theory program. Her poetry has appeared in Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Missouri Review Online and Guernica, among others. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and TENT Conferences as well as the Auschwitz Jewish Center. She is the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars, winner of Split Lip Magazine’s 2014 Uppercut Chapbook Award. Julia is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine. She also writes “Other women don’t tell you,” a blog about motherhood.
“Dear Masha (to the one I once called Peanut)” originally appeared at Lunch Ticket, Winter/Spring 2015 Issue.