Suck My Stomach In

By Vangile Gantsho

Mama tells me to suck my stomach in.

Her words force themselves in between us

as he moves his hand over my belly.I can’t sleep,

trying to suck the bloated wine into somewhere hidden.

Trying to remember the last time I went to yoga or took a jog.

I wonder if that’s why mama was always high strung

—she never slept—

why she never listened to anything except old hymns

about Proverbs 31 women.

I wonder what she would think of me

walking around naked,

chopping onions,

pouring wine for a fifty-five year old man passing time in my bed.

The first time we met,

On waking up in my bed,

he told me I was too fat for him.

I wish I hadn’t cried so much.

I wish I could have sucked myself in

until I disappeared.

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