You Can’t Trust a Skinny Messiah

"if jesus was fat" and "hide and seek," two poems by Mandy Shunnarah

You Can’t Trust a Skinny Messiah

if jesus was fat

they wouldn’t’ve been able to hoist him up on that cross / all the paintings got his ribs showing, the contours of his stomach undulating from emptiness / a growl heard through centuries of canvas / enough to make you hungry just looking at him / if he’d had meat on his bones, ate good like mama mary wanted him to he would’ve been better off / might’ve pulled that cross right down, popped that flimsy piece of lumber from the ground & said i am thy god  

imagine dying on an empty stomach / could’ve been like buddha but chose to be a vacuum, a chasm instead / then have the nerve to make a rule about gluttony when there’s nothing about the sin of denying your own body / like it doesn’t carry you through this world / like it isn’t the one thing that’s with you all your days / the one thing they cannot take away / how am i supposed to believe this skinny bitch can do anything / how can he save me when he can’t even save himself


hide and seek

No one told me you could be forgotten 
by your cousins playing hide and seek. 

No one told me the light in the fridge goes out 
when you climb inside and close the door. 

No one told me how the grate on the shelf above 
presses into the ridges of your spine, compressing you 

and how your legs folded underneath your torso 
fall asleep, going numb as the chill sets in. 

No one ever tells you the inside of refrigerators 
smell like kitchen cleaner spray, arm & hammer powder 

and salad greens wilting in plastic bags, or that 
your grandmother’s homemade yogurt tempts from the top shelf.
 
No one ever tells you how impatient you grow and how your breath slows as you breathe the little oxygen you allowed inside with you. 

No one tells you how light your head feels, how loud your blood thunders, how desperate your heart screams, louder than the muted world outside.
 
No one tells you the door suctions shut and you might be folded so small you don’t have the space to push yourself out. 

No one tells you that you’ll have to thrash, pound, and flail against the plastic walls until there’s a burst of warm outside air–– 

No one tells you you’ll roll out gasping, cramped and claustrophobic, victory chilled into your bones when your cousins ask “Where were you?”

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