Scoliosis Orthosis by Harper Golden
 

barbeque ribs by Ziyi Yan

count

your ribs, fingering the clinging

meat rack by rack, selecting a prime

cut for picnic lunch, still

raw, bouncing with fleshy aliveness of a

pig.

dry

in the ebony heat until you shrivel,

plum seeping tart juices–

purple bloodstains on the kitchen floor,

until the bones are smooth as a science-class skeleton bleached to untarnished porcelain–

water

is the first taste of remorse.

sink

into the rhythm of throbbing, dull knife sawing

through ruby-red flesh–

there’s a visceral glory in moving one muscle to make another

tremble,

sinewy fibers tortured into marbled pasture-raised

grease.

cook

until every muscle withers,

chalky sinew gurgling misty-eyed refractions before

burning

to bitter coals.

cut

into your unrendered porcelain, scaly creases

cracking like a china bowl,

pick up the shards that your blue-green veins might bloom to painted cobalt flowers,

knives on the checkered floor–

red and white, bloodstains and lard stained bowl,

baby-backs still jiggling.

eat

rack by rack, stretching the

stomach until ribs burst to slimy entrails,

emaciated arm cranking the

ropes splintering like

tendons snapping like rubber bands

with every bite,

tears moist against ant-infested wood,

pleas fat with senseless simile,

your law cares nothing for mercy.

clean

up the bone-white shards and shrug a sweater over that flowery dress–

your guests will be waiting and it’s a nice hot day–

so pull out that textbook smile

and feast

under a sun of melted butter.