It’s like we’re prisoners, but made to look like well taken
care of children in order to help parents sleep at night. Sometimes
I think they’d kill us if it were convenient, I said
to my grandparents while eating two grilled English muffins
and drinking a large chocolate milk with a bendy straw.
There’s no excuse for how you’re treated, my grandfather said,
my grandmother nibbling off a corner of his raspberry Danish.
Doesn’t she eat like a rabbit, he said. Doesn’t he eat like a moose,
she said. I asked what animal I ate like and my grandfather said
the best kind. The kind that needs another chocolate milk, she said.
At Weeks Family Restaurant we found ourselves only after
comparing our eating habits to wild animals, and I think this is
because we were depending on a kind of animal spirit medicine
to make us feel more humane under an offensive and immoral
amount of disgust for consumerism and the American workplace.
I remember one afternoon, while walking among the graves of
relatives I never met, which is what we did every Sunday
after going out for breakfast and laughing at each other’s chipmunk
cheeks and mandibular movements,
I said to my grandmother I think I’m a painted bunting.
She asked why I thought that and I told her because it has a little
bit of everything in it and how I wish I could take my skin off
and make my blood turn into a rainbow you couldn’t find the
beginning or end of. That’s something! she said. Well, not literally,
rabbit, but you know what I mean, I said.