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I come too late, again,
after her “in-suite dining”
the tray is whisked away
with untouched drumstick,
formerly her favourite.

Fingers like bird talons
rest in her lap,
nightie pocked with stains,
rouge a bit too bright
on a simian face.
Trembling, she touches up her lipstick.

Meat on the bone is just too hard to cut
I don't like to say anything though
you'd think they'd notice
... maybe they think I've gone vegetarian
like you!

Bone rack, thin as a bone, bone yard.
Her skull a patella that talks.
Might licked-off lipstick have calories?

Why didn't I bring some Almond Rocha?
What was I thinking?
Too long, bone tired

we suck on Milk Duds
from the bottom of my purse,
I wonder about animal by-products,
bone char in the sugar -
push them out of my mind if not my body.
Why doesn't she just die,
make lipstick of the melted chocolate
pucker like a demented fish
at each of her giggles?

Crystal Hurdle teaches English and Creative Writing at Capilano University in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. In October 2007, she was Guest Poet at the International Sylvia Plath Symposium at the University of Oxford, reading from After Ted & Sylvia: Poems. Her work, poetry and prose, has been published in many journals, including Canadian Literature, The Literary Review of Canada, Event, Bogg, Fireweed, and The Dalhousie Review. Crystal was Fiction Editor of The Capilano Review in the late eighties and sat on its board of directors for several years. Teacher’s Pets, a teen novel in verse, has just been published, and she’s pleased to be working on another.