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ISSUE:  Spring 1979
This man who ate day-old cake from Ebingers
as a stale treat
will not believe me
when I cup his face in my hands
and tell him he’s handsome
because all he sees in my voice
is the boy who lost his four front teeth
falling from a water tower in the South Bronx
all he hears is the school-yard taunt
“Dracula, Dracula, Dracula!”

This woman force-fed oatmeal by her mother—
a Gretel to be fattened—
can not believe you
when you weep love to the hug of her neck
because all she sees in your tears
is a freckled girl scoured to organdy
all she hears is her mother’s mockery
“Scrawny, scrawny, scrawny!”

The starved must be fed frequently
small portions of soft and tender foods
or they will die of what they hunger for.


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