Bee Walsh

The Garlic Roaster’s Wife

It’s easy enough to lure myself
out of my house 
if I tell myself 
that I may run into

When in reality,
it’s only ever your ghost
who greets me
when I walk in
a door. 

I am a wool and leather woman
with bulbs of garlic
in her pockets,
warding off the men
whose mouths
make me nervous.

Have you ever imagined
someone else’s
distorted face 
when you see the 
back of a head
so familiar 
that you shiver,

a fear of a shadow
shorter that my own stance
I don’t dare 
get too close. 
Because I can smell the wood
burnt by saw blades
every time I see 
a pair of Levi 501s. 

In my back pocket
is the number of a woman
who swears
she can rid me
of my demons,
Hair like my mothers, 
I believe her when she tells me
I haven’t yet
learned my lesson.

How many more solitary seances
can I have
wrapped up in my bedcovers? 

Later, I pull the stems
off of white mushrooms
filling bowls of garden scraps.
Your dead grandmother’s handwriting,
your dead grandmother’s hands, 
guiding me 
to my white casserole dish, 
holding me back 
when I imagine
Sylvia Plath’s children
asleep in their beds
while she leaned
into the fire. 

How many dead poets
can I pray to
on the nights I fear
my own life? 

Too afraid to walk 
past the mirrors, 
I build a cathedral 
with walls so like
my own rib cage
that I want to 
place my heart
on the altar. 

Take the knife
to the muscle, 
sliced thin strips
laid carefully 
in cast iron, 

And again, 
I am making a meal
of myself 
to feed anyone
who looks hungry.

Bee Walsh is a 30 year-old poet born and raised in New York City. Her book Manning Up is coming out 10/1/2019 on West44 Books. It's about something she knows a lot about, eat disorders, and something she knows nothing about, football. She is also the Poetry Editor for UK-based Synaesthesia Magazine and a Freelance Editor for-hire. Her work has appeared in Wyvern LitVelvet TailVagabond LitRiggwelter, and The Vagina Zine. She is currently living in Buffalo, NY where she is a Teaching Artist at the Just Buffalo Writing Center as well as poetry advocate all over the city