“What’s eating you?” they ask
when I push the food around my plate.
“Nothing,” I say rawly, not pausing
nor stealing a moment to hesitate.
I lie to them but not myself
(no, not to me, I see my fate),
knowing what’s eating me,
eating is, all-too-figuratively.
I respond with nothing, quite literally.
I eat myself bite by bite, bone-by-bone –
Because I can. And I can’t stop me.
And why should I want to stop
when this is a game that only I can win and lose
and see me, raise me or fold?
I will have to stop, in the end, but not for me.
I live a life divided into selves;
each and every one of us is no longer whole.
Like a loveless marriage,
we are stuck together, indefinitely.
Not because we want to, need to, must,
but because we have to be.
while he eats away at me.
That disused section reeks
as if its books have defecated
at the thought of being left:
their spines no longer fingered,
words no longer read nor imbibed
into some greater consciousness
where they can come to rest.
They squat there, passive in their dirty protest,
waiting for death’s hearty greeting
at the bottom of a pit licked by a flame
then burns them from the outside in
until all that’s left are the charred reminders
of their hardback covers,
their scattered words falling
Neil Slevin MA, BSc is a writer from Co. Leitrim, Ireland, whose poetry has been published by various Irish publications, including The Galway Review, Skylight 47, Boyne Berries, and Into The Void, and numerous international journals, such as Scarlet Leaf Review and Artificium: The Journal. His flash fiction appeared in The Incubator. He is a founder and editor of Dodging The Rain.