Reality TV

A man, seated alone on a bare stage,
eats and drinks for years and years
until his liver hardens to a stone,
his fat heart explodes like a galaxy.

A girl turns this way and that
before a mirror just her size, frowns,
refusing each day to eat until
her periods cease, she’s only bone,

and she becomes the nothing
the world wanted from her.
Kids are thrust into scalding tubs,
hands held to burners because they wet the bed.

Mommy, Mommy, they cry.
The hair of a man strapped to
a chair whooshes into flame, gawkers bug-eyed
on the other side of the glass, safe from

the stench, though we breathe it.
A girl is punched in the stomach
by the father of her fetus until she
falls, and, doubled over in a fetal position

of her own, seeps and bleeds,
staining the carpet so dark the mark
will last forever on our hands,
and she is, and we are, born again.

David CitinoIdaho Review2005