Food is medicine, a poetic narrative

by Kat

I can picture us sitting around that table, standing in the kitchen, sitting on the couch. They say food is medicine, but who are they — have they seen us? Met us?

I can’t visit him — hurts too much is what he didn’t say; would never say — wish he’d say. Because then we would know. And yet we have responsibility for those untold stories, unspoken stories. Why haven’t you said anything before?

We don’t know how to talk about these little tragedies — the pain of never telling — when food becomes poisoned by your words. It would become medicine much later; after lapping trees and feeding cattle; gathering cornstalks. Discarded. Repurposed.

Like you were, but would never say — left only with your words — the streams of your anger. We had to assume. In your transparent pain revealed in anger. It came to the surface easily. In cars, closed off spaces, in rooms. We don’t talk about this is what they’d never say.

Until she did.

Slowly.

It hurts.

This forgetting to breathe between words. Pen scrawling, ripping, gashing, gnawing. Still here, I wonder? Trauma does that. You doubt yourself, your words. The experiences that follow. Maybe it never happened at all.

This hurts. I know.

To talk about, to embody the she who was far away — not feeling, only thinking. A kind of distance that is terrifying. She was here. Heard as stories from long ago drip out, pour out. From that kitchen. 3 hours south of pain. He couldn’t visit, so you do.

Where food is medicine and people are kind; until they yell and you walk away slowly — mind half a mile away.

Distant.

What to do with this space. With us? Tiny bodies living through a storm. A barrage of words. Felt intentions that remain unheard, unseen, unspoken? I wish you could tell me what was wrong — with you? With us.

We remain here as echoes narrate a form we never knew. Of bits of tape and glue, promises you could never keep. You hurt too much.

Violently.

Terrifyingly.

Alone and stark — with only your words. You distance yourself from your own pain. Unsure of how you look or feel now. At this present moment screaming in her face. Do you see that man in you — you embody your own pain. Showing me what you’ve lost. I wish you could redirect this anger at its source. Why are you so afraid?

A rabid dog — hiding from its executioners — snarling, quivering. You hurt. I know — but I can’t care.

They shoot rabid dogs before they bite. Take them to the middle of nowhere before they’re gone.

Lost.

Alone.

Terrified.

But utterly dangerous.

And so they drove you to the edge of town. A small mercy. To be left alone, to hurt, without hurting. This is a desolate space. She leaves you here and walks away — her steps echo as they hit the ground.

You hurt.

I know.

But I must walk away and leave you here. Alone — in the not — and distance of what was. Wishing for what could be, but never was.

You left her here too. In a mire of longing — a sadness of imaginary could be’s.

Never was.

In the silence

following you

raging

screaming voice.

That echoes across a decade. In the what still hurts to speak.

And yet she does.

Slowly.

Painfully.

Willfully.

Stubbornly.

Until she is hoarse and waits for voice to return. She will be; is; for her and the hers that came before. Who hid in that shelter as the bombs came down.