No Food or Drink

April 20, 2008
By Claire Duckworth, Scottsdale, AZ

I am parched. I feel
the cold glass of an empty bottle
nudge up against my bare hand,
flopping lifelessly. Retired
from its comfortable home
at my side. This feeling
was duplicated by the cold, glass dagger
laying next to the place
where my blood used to run. The
broke from the frame
as I tried to remove her
fragile photograph from its binds. But
the bottle is always

Empty. I am famished. I glance down
toward my hand. Toward the empty bottle
and I see a heart,
and vulnerable,
beating against the dusty carpet. I dreamed
it was the heart of a delectable artichoke.
Just a mirage.
The pale figure that belonged
below the glass dagger was worthless,
choking below me on the floor.
It might as well have been an artichoke. But
The heart is always

Useless. I manifested
a great deity to come liberate my anguish,
though I was not religious.
A woman.
Oddly familiar,
yet vaguely memorable. I greedily spoke
to it of my desires. A trio of requests
spilled from my lips.
But I was just the ventriloquist.
The, now molding, artichoke
told the account and shared its requests. But
the altruistic protagonist is always

Glorified. I lip-synched
with the song, so as not to be
exposed as the puppeteer.
The chorus was distant but I hummed along
with the familiar tune:
“My failure
is amusing. The last puzzle piece
is still missing. I need to belong
in hell.
No food or drink will satisfy
my hollow existence.”
The lyrics are always


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