29 Mar Midnight Snack by Annalynn Plopp
Tonight, a buzzing, tingling, familiar fear takes root in my abdomen and shivers up my spine.
The moon outside is creamy and dapples the insides of my eyelids with twinkling white lights.
She is woeful: that single, bright eye, harbour of the listless and witness of secrets,
But she is not enough to comfort my stomach’s insistence.
The stars wink at me through my window: “don’t, please don’t.”
But they cannot stop the gentle thudding of my feet on carpeted floor,
Stop my wrist from turning the door handle,
My fingers from finding the light switch in the kitchen.
“It’s just a midnight snack,” I tell the stars.
“It’s just a little nighttime snack,” I plead with the moon.
But the demon in my stomach knows better, and his laugh fills my belly with emptiness.
First: bread with butter and honey, my grandmother’s choice
it tastes like July afternoon in a faraway kitchen I have not seen in four years.
Second: fragrant pieces of cheddar, rolled up in thick slices of deli meat
they taste like an empty fridge when my mother wasn’t home.
Third: tomatoes in vinegar and spices, with crackers to cut the saltiness
they taste like Lent, and my father’s angry voice.
I am full of food that tastes like emptiness, full of food that tastes like loneliness.
But the demon is not finished with me, and I am not done, I cannot be done
Until pain replaces emptiness with the burning of stomach walls distended.
The moon rolls like an eye in a socket and the stars blink furiously: “stop, please stop,”
“It’s just a midnight snack.”
Fourth: white lard from a jar on bread, with pink pickled cabbage
it tastes like leering smiles from the Romanian vendors at the market.
Fifth: chocolate spread, swallowed by heaping spoonful
it tastes like the thinly veiled disgust of my eighth-grade teacher.
Sixth: two apples, cut up and dipped in oily peanut butter
they taste like healthy lunches in the backpacks of skinny classmates.
Now it hurts, how it hurts! Stabbing needles of pain as I crawl back to my bedroom door.
The kitchen light is off and my demon is quiet, his hunger assuaged by churning waves of acid.
The stars, sentinels of night, know relief is but a fleeting moment,
But I feel better, the heavy fullness like a weighted blanket over that goring emptiness.
The moon blinks at me sadly through my curtains, but why should she worry?
“It’s just a midnight snack,” I tell her.