I was a child who wanted to eat the sun – tried to touch it, pluck it,
cried like a rhakshasa when I couldn’t reach. A globe, plump gold,
my baby self sought to bite with tiny teeth; lick with esurient tongue.
As a toddler, I tamed my hunger, awaiting mealtimes with seeming
patience, but secretly nibbling orchids; sucking the ovoid teats of lilies;
chewing on the chocolate petals of the calico flower, flake-like, at our door.
At six, still not accepting I could not consume the world, we moved,
to the land of buick-size burgers and milkshakes thick as desire.
I gloated, greed-eyed, swallowing down chow the size of pudgy fists,
furtively licking perfume swabs in silken magazines. I forgot the saffron
of shrikhand, its sweet and subtle nuance. Instead, I scoffed ice cream in shades
of atomic; sucked at my spoon; hoped that the moon really was made of cheese.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem to try and communicate the desire to eat and taste that I often felt as a child. I wanted to play with imagery of sun and moon, and I do remember thinking all of the thoughts within the poem, as well as committing all of the actions. Yes, I ate flowers, and licked at magazines . . . I feel I had a curious tongue, rather than an empty stomach, however. These days, I enjoy putting new words into my mouth, and describing thought and action with vocabulary that is, perhaps, a little more distant, a little more like the sun and moon, which I was always trying to reach for, back then. I wanted to be a chef, or a space traveller, when I was a child! This, too, explains the mix of imagery, while my Indian origins are responsible for rhakshasa (a type of female demon) and shrikhand (a sweet dessert I remember eating).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brenda Hines was born in India, raised in the U.S., and married in the U.K. She lives in Crowthorne,U.K., where she works as a psychologist. Her poetry is next due to appear in Wherever You Roam, an anthology published by Pankhearst as part of their Slim Volume series. She has two children.