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They Don't Like When She Eats with Her Hands

by Shelby Millarez Meyers

They Don’t Like When She Eats with Her Hands

My mother learned spoon and fork.

Gripped cold utensils in her fingers,

shuffled food around plate –

Chased chicken inside the corelle fence.

Familiar with water stains.

Rice sticks everywhere.

(When I was younger, I’d wake up with it on my clothes.)

She doesn’t eat like she used to

back home.

Her soft, tissue teeth caged in wire.

Holding powerful trident.


My aunt cried when she saw her.

You have a hard life in America? You send us all your money, how you eat? Why skinny? You sick? Eat eet eet.

We mestiza, big bone,
pig roasters.

Shuffling blood back home.

Fire out back.
Roasting meat into the banyan trees.

Strips of sunshine dried mangos

in folds of suitcases.

Flesh caught on zipper.

TSA’s gloved fingers pull out mute tongue.

Leave notes in pockets – we have been here.


She cooks blood.

Rich purple.

My father isn’t here.

We inhale grease and

Slip into old habits.

Cross legged,

pinch rice in our fingers and dip into soy sauce.

We drink it.

Stain teeth     black squid ink, charcoal.

Pick flesh apart with our nails.

Teeth bared.

Livers fed fat. Fingers sticky.


She Made Love

by Shelby Millarez Meyers

She Made Love

Like a chicken with her head cut off.         


On that salty day

the clouds rained vinegar.

She loved him.

The air

was moist

with open mouthed kisses.

                            Kisses spit

                            into the back of the throat

to be cried out                   again.


The hard-plastic sole of his boot

crushed her wing.

The man began to saw at her throat.


She opened       up

at command.

Bleed green iridescent feathers

and cinnamon blood

that turned purple when it breathed.  


She breathed

through the chasm in her neck –

                                           Two ruby woo lips panting,

                                           spitting out oaths.
I saw her

              draining out for him.

She loved him.

He lifted his boot –

and she flapped her wings haphazardly.

Ran off              (right into the earth.)

A geyser

crying out

for her sweet, chocolate, cinnamon blood.

She wanted to soak it back up.

                               Lay in it and bathe her breasts in it

                               while he watched.


Shelby Millarez Meyers

Born in Negros Occidental, Philippines, Shelby Millarez Meyers immigrated to America when she was two. She is currently studying Humanities at New College of Florida.

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