What I am Hungry For

Kate Polak


            For Cancer

For hunger without

                desire. For

it to drip down my throat.


For that third

                slice of pizza.

That fourth drink.


All of the smoked


in the bag, and a pack


of cigarettes besides.

                Give it

to me. I want it


on the inside. I want


I want to never have


to eat again. How clean

                it feels eating

that salad at lunch:


a side of fruit, sparkling

                water and

a breakfast of nothing.


How I hate that tidiness—

                of my body,

of the things I flense


to fit in the seats that

                were made for

me. How I love that


tidiness: being small and being

                praised for it.

When I stop to feel


the roundnesses in me

                it’s a feeling

not unlike pain.



Kate Polak is an artist, writer, and teacher. Her work has recently appeared in Plainsongs, McSweeney’s, So to Speak, Barzakh, The Closed Eye Open and elsewhere. She lives in south Florida and aspires to a swamp hermitage.