Kohlrabi

KOHLRABI

 

you’re going to allow yourself kohlrabi for dinner, one pale green kohlrabi, peeled, diced, plain, raw, forty-eight calories per cup; it might taste good, and you like kohlrabi even though this one’s large and bound to be a tough one, so you peel it, or try to–a neighbor walks by on the porch and you wince in your mind at the thought of anyone, anyone seeing you eating nothing but kohlrabi for dinner, your place always smells of vegetable soup, and you want to pull the curtain, but doing so would seem unfriendly, so you close the curtain halfway (on pretense of keeping the sun out, or so you’ll say if anyone should ask) and you return to the kohlrabi, which is tipsying around on the counter–you steady it and try to peel it again; skin so tough it reminds you of a certain type of tree bark, the way it stuck to a stick if the stick was too green, the kind of green stick that won’t burn in a campfire; you peel the kohlrabi and there’s no end to the peeling, you gnash at it with knuckles and thumbnails until at last, at last, you reach the quick of the kohlrabi, there it is, the juicy center, peeling, peeling the skin–delicate, soft, tart, stringless, firm, perfect–it must be isolated–the peels must come down–but whether the forty-eight calories include the peel is another question entirely that you want to put out of your mind but you cannot, you think of your fat, not the fat that everyone sees but your private fat, the fat that only you can see, the fat that must go now; this fat is the reason why eighty-nine pounds is an unacceptable weight for you; it is okay for other people to weigh one-twenty, but you must be in the seventies or so because you are special, not at all like others, and need to be rid of that private fat that is the secret badness in your core that keeps you “EVIL!”
    
     and as you utter this word a new word forms–“Evil!” only it is spoken by another, by It

“Evil!” you say back to It
    
     “We are going to get you good, fucker!” It says

backed up to the wall now, kohlrabi spilled on the floor, knife in hand
    
     “you! you! your secret fat will be exposed to all We will see to that We will see to that We      will see to that”

everything gray and you tell yourself you are stupid with the knife, you throw it into the sink and crouch down by the door everything is gray everything is gray and fat
    
     “you! you! We will get you”
fear fear fear the grayness is almost complete then the buzz in your head and you know that’s where It is, in the back, the back of your head, you can’t remove It, It lives there, in your head–“GET OUT!”


“GET–OUT!” your fingers running through your hair trying to find It “GET OUT!” but It is already gone for now but the grayness is still there


and you taste kohlrabi the next day and the next, and everything is gray, you can’t rid the grayness in classes, while talking to other students, in the bath, and everywhere you taste kohlrabi, even in your coffee, kohlrabi, even in the blade of grass you put into your gray mouth, your mind so absent now–
     
     “fucker”

“get out…get…out–“

the tiniest

kohlrabi
     
     “everything MUST GO NOW!  We will see to that We will see to that”


…kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi….

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