Off of silvery tines
As they pierce
The grey-pink gellish substance
I am warmed
By the schoolhouse stucco
And watch while being watched
Grateful for my life
Holding precious time
I take the saccharine gloop
To my lips
And place the lightly coated tines
Onto my tongue
A grimace instinctively forms
As I force the fork to stay
A memory of what milk is supposed to be?
Fake sweetness, sweetness reached for
I let it stay
And think back to her
I see her pacing
Back and forth like wilderness
Trapped in a life
She surely didn’t ask for
The terrifying bars
Pacing feverishly, growling
To the angry vibrations
The only connection
She still had
I see her in the sun
Pre-pubescent life cheering on around her
As she, aimed at descending
Her HELL NO
Her way out
The only way she knew
I see her holding
The silvery tines before her open mouth
I feel her nausea
I see her turn away
Her skeletal arm dropping the fake sweetness
Into the trash
Of course she’s starving
This ain’t no place for a little girl
This week’s memory is an attempt to recreate “eating” diet yogurt during a lunch break at high school. This was another challenging foodstuff to imagine magically, but I did my bestest:
Original ingredients: Cultured Grade A Nonfat Milk, Strawberries, Water, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Red #40, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.
Hack, hack, pffffthht! Which I managed to turn into:
Milk: Fertility, nourishment, mother
Strawberries: Fertility, sensuality, feminine
Corn: Sacred to many indigenous people, as the first mother
Sugar: Sweetness, attraction
Beef: Strength, assertiveness, grounding
Earth/Soil/Minerals: Grounding, mother
After researching these ingredients, I found it interesting to notice that all of them (although in this diet form offer weak substitutions) are somehow connected to fertility, femininity, the mother, being grounded in the physical form, enjoying sensuality. And in seeing this pattern, I began to think on the girl that chose to eat only a forkful or two that day, and upon doing so, how she became nauseous. How she threw that mother-full substance, that grounding, feminine, life sustaining substance straight into the trash after only experiencing a bite or two. How her aim to make her way back into the safe treatment center, away from the grief she was drowning in, away from the psychotic breakdowns of the group home residents around her, away from the fact that her family left her, away from the fact that she no longer could see a reason for living……how this aim was so much stronger than her desire to eat, and thrive.
Of course I also thought of the literal wisdom of such a reaction to this gross gellish goop–that while she was leaving it behind for other reasons, the distaste for such a foodstuff made sense. And of course there might of been a reason she chose to eat something she wouldn’t have a hard time leaving behind. What might have happened, were she in an environment that provided her with real food, with real elders, with real care? Might she not have chosen her fateful path of descent? Or was it necessary either way? Was it, as James Hillman might say, her acorn arranging?
Ultimately, there’s no way to really know these things. It is my preference to re-imagine all of this as a sacred journey, and that that little girl’s soul knew just what it was doing. That murder, abandonment, group homes, starvation, psych wards and abuse were part of her invisible initiators. As perhaps was the Diet Yogurt, staring back at her, as she left the most of it sweltering in the sun atop a mound of the empty wrappings of teenage fast-food trash.
Later, after my re-experiencing, I went into the art. So much anger arose as I drew and let myself express. It was as if I was feeling what she couldn’t allow herself to feel, that her starvation was enacting inwardly. I let myself pace and growl whilst listening to Iron Maiden’s Wrathchild, like she did. I let her anger rise and flow through me, into the pacing, into the flames and jagged etchings drawn. I let myself be with her, this Wrathchild, honoring her choices, her possibly sacred choices, and held her broken heart with a hope she’d take decades to find.
*Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll join me for next week’s food memory, “The Restaurant.”
**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here:
or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.