Photo by John Lodder on Flickr


Another poem mannequin-
Ing the body. Old hat, I know. Me too. I’m dead
Tired. Dog-tired.

My polyester bomber body
Soiled with February snow. City snow,
Lint gray. Yellow, yellow, yellow,

Brown. So full of piss I won’t let my kid ball it,
Eat it, lie like an angel.
I thought it was nothing. It. It. All of it. I was

That young, that nineties.
The boss, for instance, who owned
The place. Who watched me

Bait customers in a tank top. On camera.
The screen by his bed. If I put on
A cardigan, he called the bar to make me

Take it off.
I was not, in childhood, fed
Regular meals at regular times. I feed my child

At eight, twelve, six o’clock. Homemade
Carrot muffins in between.
Sundried raisins syrupy sweet, apples in heaps.

Seaweed sheets. Vanilla bean yogurt,
Whole fat. My tits never as big, as miracle-rich
As when I nursed my baby.

My mammal milk, hint of cantaloupe.
For hundreds of days, hundreds
Of nights my body did that. Made certain

My child did not know hunger.
And my child — my body did that, too.
But gawked at so long

Behind the glass, I, too, forget
I am human. It’s my body, still my body
I have to remember to feed.

Eugenia Leigh

Eugenia Leigh is a Korean American poet and the author of Bianca (Four Way Books, forthcoming March 2023) and Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books, 2014). Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Nation, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tahoma Literary Review, Waxwing, and the 2017 Best of the Net Anthology. The recipient of Poetry magazine's 2021 Bess Hokin Prize as well as fellowships and awards from Poets & Writers Magazine, Kundiman, and elsewhere, Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and serves as a poetry editor at The Adroit Journal.