Before I Eat

I sit in silence.
I imagine my edges
expand beyond my plate,
beyond my room,
the hotel,
the city,
the country.
I encompass even Africa
and don’t stop
until my borders
reach beyond stars.
I try to hold that.
I tell myself
that I deserve to eat.
I was made to enjoy the fruit of the earth,
its water,
the sweet cream of goat Camembert
and crunch of celery,
the juice of the peach,
warm cinnamon of my tea.
I try to hold myself
there, big as the universe,
but each bite draws me in
smaller and smaller.
By the time I open the bottom drawer
and draw the dark chocolate
from its wrapper,
as if my mom might hear
and rush in to rip
the wrapper from my hand
and hide the chocolate somewhere
where my fat ass can’t find it,
I am small again,
unworthy of the good chocolate.

I wanted only a square or two,
but the bar is half gone
before the universe
pours back into me.

about the author
Lori Gravley lives just outside of Yellow Springs, Ohio. She earned her MFA in Poetry at the University of Texas at El Paso. Lori has published poems in the recent issue of Flights magazine, and has also been published in Nebo, Rio Grande Review, Poetry Motel and other small literary magazines  Recently, her non-fiction and photography was featured on The Pantone Project (120 & 423).