Artwork for Elizabeth P. Glixman's poems

Three Poems
Elizabeth P. Glixman

Should I Report My Neighbor to the Thought Police?

I count fat people is what my neighbor said to me
I count fat people while I wait at the bus stop downtown to transfer buses
I count one two three fat people
Four five hmm pudgy
Six fat people
Seven eight obese
I count fat people and wonder where they buy their clothes
I first look at people’s feet
Then I move upward across their bodies like a periscope on a submarine
I see things like heavy thighs stretched pants
Belts that are pulled too tight and a bulge flop over paunches
pooped from staying buoyant
I look next at midriffs and breast and necks and then chins
Double and triple
Then lips round things or thin like delicate pastry
I count cheeks
Flesh perpetually blown out like a balloon
The nose the eyes the forehead and the hair
I count all these parts as they walk by or wait for the bus.
I count fat people

My neighbor counts fat people
Do I tell the American Civil Liberties Union
Is counting fat people in your mind not out loud
A jailable offense a violation of the Constitution
An assault on low fat food products
Individual rights
Weight Watchers
It could be
It could be, you know
If you count fat people
I don’t want to hear it
I don’t want to hear anything you (my neighbor)
think in your fractured mind

Whipped cream and cherries
Chips and fries the Atkins Diet
Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden
Flesh and Pilates I don’t want to hear it
Keep your private thoughts
Private I don’t want to notice
How my thighs are growing
My chin is sagging
My dress size is getting larger
I don’t want to know you are counting me
When you look at my feet
Then glance up at my eyes.

~ ~ ~

I’ve Been Bookmarked

This is an e-mail about the e-mail
I wrote you forty-eight hours
and three and a half minutes ago
That e-mail was my way of saying
please e-mail me back since
you put me on your favorite list
on the dating site
After all even if we have nothing in common
we live in the same city
I sent you this e-mail to remind
you about the first e-mail
I sent forty-eight hours
and now ten and a half minutes ago

Some online dating experts say
Stop hoping for an e-mail response after seventy-two hours
You can write the man
but it’s better to wait a few weeks
then write something short and friendly
I’m having a wonderful day today climbing Mt. Kiliminjaro
getting a new tattoo of you
on my ass
cooking your favorite meal
How are you?

My mother who knows nothing about e-mails
and dating sites would tell me
if she were not six feet under
Never e-mail a man first
Let him chase you with e-mails
then when he takes you out to dinner
buy the most expensive item on the menu
Those who write for Who the Hell Are You
to Think Anyone Could Love say
Tell your mother this is the twenty-first century
Go ahead write that first e-mail
I have to listen to the experts
I pay them monthly so I can
keep e-mailing men
who don’t e-mail me back

Today I need to e-mail the man
who put me on his favorite list
to be sure he got my first e-mail
I feel awful I have to do this
First I will eat a carton of chippy chocolate ice cream
I won’t ask him to love me
(the site says I am not ready for love yet)
I’m asking for an e-mail that doesn’t say
I can’t love you and never will
I don’t love women over thirty

I know I have to write new e-mails
to other men and then e-mail them again
to remind them I e-mailed them
I know being a favorite on a man’s list means nothing
It is like he saw an ad for a lawn mower
on Amazon or for that new style men’s underwear
and bookmarked it

~ ~ ~

Never Would I Admit to Anything—Violence or Tenderness

I remember how it felt
I recall that it did not go anywhere
It stayed stuck in my craw
in the darkness of my undigested words
floating, haunting the rooms between us
It lay in the stomach of my wolf
my coyote
my bird of prey
watched me in the garden
pulling worms from the ground
eating carrion
I became a primitive devoured by anger
My need for you turned to acid
burned tenderness
Until it was too invisible to caress
Until it fell dead from the sky like a hunted duck

I remember how you brought me a brown paper bag
to apologize for your hateful words
The bag full of chicken wings
to nourish me at work
when I was dizzy from hunger
You brought it in your cold fire hand
Your fingers with round tips held the bag as if it were
my arms you were gathering in yours
Gently, calmly
I recall this
Years after you are gone.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 48 | The Shame Issue | Spring/Summer 2016