I'm inside my refrigerator again, so dark with the door closed, but I'm warmed by the abundance around me. Only in the fridge have I managed to force hunger to surrender, dragging it in here from the den, force-feeding it Velveeta and what was left of last night's casserole. With victory comes peace, dead silence except for the crackle of food wrappers, the snap when I open the catsup, the rustling of the froth that comes from opening a Coke. I pretend that the foodstuffs here adore me, the leftovers, the beer bottles, but I know that in truth they would make room for anyone who wanted in. After all, they are desperate to escape this prison, find their way back into their home the earth and the fact that they use me as their conduit does not disturb me. I'm headed that way myself.
There is a rhythm to the world that most people tap out when their minds are floating elsewhere / but I could never hear it / so all my life I've snapped my fingers as scattershot as a barking dog / I've told myself lightning doesn't wait for the maestro's baton / a woodpecker strikes prestissimo or chooses not to strike at all / and I thought maybe I should treasure that liberty / but all it has brought me is a solo in an empty auditorium / my eyes closed so I can't see my own hands flailing / what I really want now / is to be dropped into the beat like I am reentering the world wearing the skin of a snare drum / so when the sun dawns adagio / I'm there to greet it / with perfect syncopation
The Resentment Box
Sure, go out for drinks with your friends I'm glad to see you enjoying yourself without me / meanwhile I'll be here knocking together another box / I cut the boards, miter the corners, assemble it, apply a blood stain, then wedge it into my memories chest / we who incarcerate our hunger are carpenters but we don’t know when to stop / my therapist once claimed my confidences hate headlines much as fools hate time, not understanding mercy / I never spoke to him again but my hands are riddled with splinters / when I die I'll leave you a book of matches / you know what to do I've seen your boxes
Tom Barlow is an Ohio author of poetry, short stories and novels. His writings have appeared in journals and anthologies including PlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Aji, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more. See more at tombarlowauthor.com.