Raw meat behind a counter.

What is the throat if not a cosmic hallway to the stomach?
In defiance of gravity, vomit travels up the gullet plunged
by the force of your contracting gorge. Uncontainable
like lusty daydreams sprung unbidden in church.

In movies, reactions to gore make even the hardened
homicide detectives throw up. Teeth are the only bones
to breach the meat of the body. Everything else—blood,
bone, organ goo, digested food—should stay inside.

Drinking to excess is never an option. How deftly bile
knifes esophagi is enough to cap happy hour to one.
Not two, which might as well be five. If shaking
gin martinis: Oh, friends. Fuck around and find out.

Avoid eating at picnics and all block party fare:
egg salad, chicken salad, potato salad, cheese left in the sun.
Never imagine rescuing a hair—not your own—snagged on
a chunk of shrimp that’s made it past the mandible sentries.

Watch out for the uncontrollable: flu, food poisoning, coughing fit.
Acts that bend us to kneeling before an icy porcelain maw,
juddering with hot-turned-cold sweat and desperation, the panic spike
clench-bellied into that primal fear of everything coming back up.

Photo by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner, used and adapted under CC.