Emaciation Triptych


The summer was hungry

and so was I, thirteen

with the tymbal trill of cicadas

in final molt and imaginary

boyfriends I kissed behind

the shed. There were things

I wanted: whispers of tell me

a folktale inside a McDonald’s

while I gnawed on chicken nuggets.

Sprite I would later pour

onto black-eyed Susans.

I knew they craved

the same things I did,

but what else was left

for me to cut my teeth on?


There was a boy with a red

truck and unkind hands,

and all the black-eyed

Susans were dead. My mother

told me she would grow

a new husband instead.

At 16, I couldn’t imagine

kneeling in dirt to grow

a man like a tomato plant.

All I had was a watering can

dented and rusting. What if

he didn’t want to be watered?

When I opened my mouth,

all I could taste was dust.

All I could taste was stone.


By 19, college taught me

that Erisychthon was cool.

What I mean is I hadn’t yet

eaten enough of myself.

All the men I tried to grow

sprouted from the soil

already wilted or dressed

in disease. It’s a funny thing,

craving what you can’t have.

Even the black-eyed

Susans refused to open,

so I laid my own body

out on the table, answering

the whispers of devour me,

dear girl. Devour me.

Taylor Hamann Los

Taylor Hamann Los is an MFA student at Lindenwood University. Her poetry has appeared in Parentheses Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Split Rock Review, among others. She lives with her husband and two cats in Wisconsin. You can find her on Twitter (@taylorhamannlos) and Instagram (taylorhlos_poetry) or at taylorhamannlos.wordpress.com.

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