Sweet ‘n Low

You can feel the sifting grains through the paper packaging. Easy
to open, to taste (it even says Soluble Saccharin down its smooth back,
an open invitation to tongue if I’ve ever seen one, the red light
of consent), but that empty stack of zeroes in the nutrition facts
makes me wonder, just like Lacey Basset wondered (I hear
she’s a successful city stripper nowadays, dodged that baby bullet
I guess) in eighth grade biology, asking
Mr. Gibson about lettuce but like

if you eat it
and you don’t digest it
then where does it go?
to which
Mr. Gibson blinked,
slowly, and
replied Narnia. When I picture her
unpeeling her clothing for singles, and I still see an eighth grader’s
face atop an Amazon body. The v of her hipbones directs downward,
inward. When I italicize it, she shimmies a little.
v   v     v   v    v     v   v   v   v      v   v    v   v     v   v   .  

Thank you, Robin Williams, for everything.

"The lovelorn, the cry-for-helpers, all mawkish tragedians who give suicide a bad name are the idiots who rush it, like amateur conductors. A true suicide is a paced, disciplined certainty. People pontificate, ‘Suicide is selfishness.’ Career churchmen go a step further and call it a cowardly assault on the living. Oafs argue this specious line for varying reasons: to evade fingers of blame, to impress one’s audience with one’s mental fiber, to vent anger, or just because one lacks the necessary suffering to sympathize. Cowardice is nothing to do with it—suicide takes considerable courage. Japanese have the right idea. No, what’s selfish is to demand another to endure an intolerable existence, just to spare families, friends, and enemies a bit of soul-searching. The only selfishness lies in ruining strangers’ days by forcing ‘em to witness a grotesqueness." —from Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell