The stealing was inevitable, you told yourself,
hiding beneath your scabby shirt a steak,
frozen hard, marbled with white veins of fat.
Some place, maybe a cruddy gas station
or roadside rest stop, would have a functional microwave.
Else, it was fire again, and still,
your hands burned like waving torches,
awful for anyone to see. Your own dismay was gone.
You thought of all the cartoons
you watched when you were young;
you thought of their representation of starvation:
a man cinching his belt so tight
that his waist vanished, with it immense hunger.
You had no belt. Lost in the woods
weeks ago, when worry for it
didn't seem insane, the belt was cheap, entirely fake.
Snow was falling and you said
to a mute woman beside you
that all this was like a mirage,
as it began to catch and melt in her uncombed hair.
That was real, you tell yourself.
The snow and the woman and her glittering hair were real.
This is not.