It’s just me.  Me and the sweet oatmeal cereal bars, French toast at midnight with syrup and whipped cream, walnuts, fontina, goat, brie, cheddar, provolone cheese, a banana, no.  A banana smoothie with strawberries and fresh squeezed orange juice, blueberries.  Me and chicken enchiladas, spinach lasagna, cheese pizza, root beer, cashews, leftover meatloaf, lemon yogurt, tortilla chips, potatoes, a six-pack of beer.
There’s no more exercise, unless you count the steps to the refrigerator.


I look in the refrigerator, but you’re not there.  Only the fresh cream cheese, baker’s bread, leftover French onion soup, grapes, a mango, two eggs.  I touch a kiwi, the texture is like the stubble on your chin.  Fresh cut cilantro, like your breath on Saturday nights.
The feeling of consuming each tart little grape, the crunch of peeled carrots getting stuck in between the back teeth, the molars.  For a moment, a rush, like I’m back in your arms, like Christmas with the kids, like washing your back in the shower.  The rush of you, opening our blue door (you painted it), coming home from the market with sunflowers.
The toilet’s overflowed, but all I can smell and taste is the fresh cut cilantro, like your breath, and the kiwi, like the stubble on your chin.
Dozens of sunflowers wilt in the windows.
Yesterday our youngest took the food out of the refrigerator.  All of it: potatoes, eggs, blueberries, bananas, the dark chocolate stash, the lemon yogurt, leftover meatloaf, leftover quiche from the service now molding green, salmon, cookie dough, pickles.  She threw it in the trash.
“Mama, your belly,” she said.  And as I felt my throat tighten, she kissed my hand.  “Mama, I love you.  It’s okay,” she said, patting my stomach.

2 responses to “Substitution

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