I’m glad my grandma died before she could see me get fat

Bleah Patterson

2024 Poetry Spring Contest Runner Up

 because she taught me butter, sauté all of the butter 

   add all of the sugar 

       stir in all of the heavy cream 

     lick the bowl,     spatula,      whisk,      fingers clean

     our home was all         doughy            sprinkled and whip 

  creamed      until I turned fourteen     and then

     I was “only eat a third of your plate,” and             “excuse yourself 

 if you ate too much,       brush your teeth after.” 

   and I was all tears, confectioned      and confused 

  taught to savor                         now a mouth full of acrid

       astringent      and      acid,       more mouthwash than   marmalade, 

    biscuits,                sweet tea                    and she was all “you don’t 

 want to be        two pounds of sausage 

      in a one pound casing,” when I was                 just

 gumbo and red beans and rice            kolaches with cheese

      and she always told me           to develop flavor        and that when 

I grow up I’ll be more particular                     so I did,      I’m elbow deep 

     in love, because          she swore you could taste it  and my teeth 

    are rotting    from practicing her banana pudding,         coconut cream 

       queen anne’s lace    double chocolate   not 

kneeling over porcelain,           knees to linoleum,              and I can’t 

   see my ribs anymore                but I can’t see 

the end            either

Bleah Patterson (she/her) is a southern, queer writer born and raised in Texas. A current MFA candidate and writing professor. She is a Pushcart nominee and her various genres of work are featured or forthcoming in The Brazos River Review, Write or Die, The Texas Review, Across the Margins, Queerlings, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Beaver Magazine, and elsewhere.

Artwork: “Nurture” by Katy Stewart

Collage on paper

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