I am here to heal, to confess to that darkness
standing in front of my eyes when I open them,
that food squirms as if alive with maggots,
that I have shut my mouth to everything but words.
The therapist taps my shoulders, my head, my knees,
tells me I was a nun once, very strict.
This makes sense; I know how cleanly I like
to punish myself. Also, a Celtic priestess;
I hope I had red hair, that I ate men
like air, all that jazz.
She moves to my forehead; her fingers drum
on my skin. There were two of you, she says.
My body remembers in a jolt, the guilt
black and endless. It is a tunnel.
No, it is someone else’s shadow. Almost like mine.
A twin, poor thing. In my mother’s womb
I consumed this sibling, she says, like I gnaw
at my flesh now, my body feeding on whatever scrap.
You didn’t do it, she says. I know I did,
I know I did. My little twin, one of us had to go.
Directed by Matthew Thompson.
"Alternative Medicine" from Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet Press, 2021). Reproduced with permission of Carcanet Press.