Three Poems by Casey Epstein-Gross

The Most Efficient Way to Eat an Orange

is to bite right into it, to scarf down the meat and the flesh
all in one big gulp and swallow it down whole.
cherish the rind and let it scrape against your stomach,
sandpaper on skin. a spoonful of sugar
makes the medicine go down, but why not eat the spoon as well?

sip your coffee with me on the balcony;
I’ll smile at you while I swirl in the milk and splenda.
I’ve always wanted to drink coffee black but I’ve
never had the stomach for it. of course, you’ve never
been one to sugarcoat things , but I will relish in
lies and artificial sweetness until I lie deep in the ground.

I wish I was a black coffee truth telling orange rind woman
but the sky is too wide and the grass too tall, the colors
too vivid and the wind too loud. maybe one day I will
appreciate the vast bigness of the world for myself
but for now I will just tell you how much I love it

i’m not hungry, thank you though

i eat an apple at eight pm       and allow myself a black chocolate every six weeks       i vyperize everything i eat with you       it’s been a long time since i’ve stomached linguini       and of course i’ve used all my normal techniques       making myself foam at the mouth       like a diseased emerald of a cow       retching away as my knees scrape the floor       don’t worry, though, i would say that karma has repaid me in full       insects have been swarming me       the crows have been circling in wait       oh but i’m still dulling dulling dulling       there’s this quiet violence upon seeing my reflection       like watching saving private ryan on mute       i watch d-day rip itself apart       watch tom hanks bark orders at his shaking men       but i can never quite make out the words       my friend once said there’s not enough space to bury us all       he thinks we should simply build mass tombs       stack bodies one on top of the other       that’ll be the closest to another person i think i’ll have ever been       maybe though i’ll opt for cremation       untouchable in life untouchable in death       particles of ash and dust stuffed in an old jar       that’s the smallest i’ll ever be       and by far the gladdest

the cake was full-bodied and sweet and i

was neither         don’t bother mixing or baking it
next time         simply pour the raw yolk down my
throat         less calories that way         i blur at the
edges of myself         becoming big at the stomach
from eating the room around me         when did i
stop knowing where i ended         and where the
world began?         my face is a gauzy kind of pink
as if i looked in the mirror         right when the
painter began to blend my colors         i want to
gorge myself upon a table         gargle toilet water
to cleanse my palette         and begin again and
again and again         the air around me is heavy
and cruel         a milky weighted blanket         an
extravaganza of smell         mmm         i can almost
taste the headstone

Casey Epstein-Gross is from Tallahassee, Florida, and her poems have
recently appeared or are forthcoming in Soundings East, Up North Lit, Raw
Art Review, Rare Byrd Review, and Chaleur Magazine. She can be found on Instagram at @caseyepsteingross.