I Eat Men Like Air by Supriya Kumble

I eat men like air.
Not because their flesh
Tastes like the nectar of
Gods who sit around plotting
Each other’s demise,
Or because their sinews are as juicy
As a medium rare steak,
No.
I eat men like air
Because it’s the only way
I can survive.

I eat men like air
Because they’re ruinous.
They corner me against walls
Trap me in vicious nets of
Misguided guilt, self blame,
And loss of self respect.
They pin me, beat me with sticks
Soil my body with exploring hands,
Scream words that reopen stitches
To scars that have been long forgotten.
Scars, not so surprisingly,
Caused by men.

I eat men like air
When I rise from the ashes
With red hair and veins
That pulse with rage.
And just like air, the men I eat
Are tasteless.
Tasteless but need to be consumed
Because they break
My body,
My heart,
My spirit
Till I’m a walking corpse
Filled with emptiness.
Broken, barely functioning.

I eat men like air
Because it’s  the only way
I can regain the strength
Viciously stolen away
By my victims.
I eat men like air
To prove to other men
That I’m not a weakness
Or an abandoned door
In the middle of nowhere
They have the right to deface.
I eat men like air
To prove that women like me
Are not going to sit around
Decaying after we’re left
Bruised and burnt on the streets
While people walk by without
Sparing a glance.

I eat men like air
Because it’s the only way
I can survive.
Push through.
And maybe even live a little.

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