Three midnights a week I’m called to wrestle noxious ferment from my stomach, eject tar, and fall asleep on numb legs. Special doctors teach me to scapegoat cheese and milk. They disparage the butter on my toast while the bread roils my small intestine. My cheeks sink in, my ribs begin to show, and purple circles crescent both my eyes, but I like it. It proves that something’s wrong— that these slow hours in darkness are real and the moonlight cast across my clenched jaw, reflecting off my parents’ pool, meets tears that are not wept in vain. I know the pain of not knowing why I am sick again.
Robert Annis is a poet writing out of Tampa, Florida who managed to spend two weeks in Japan without any Gluten-related incidents. His poetry has been published in journals including The Shanghai Review, Exit 7, and American Tanka.