The Girl Eating Oysters Stewart Florsheim


Sixth grade: my daughter wants me to test her
on Darwin’s theory, how the only species
that survive are those that adapt
and we think about examples—
the birds that develop longer beaks
so they can pull their food out of the marsh,
humans and their ability to walk.
What I want is to tell her
the other face to survival:
How my grandfather had his bag packed
ready to go to Dachau on Kristallnacht
because he believed das Vaterland
would come through for him.
How my father started ignoring my mother
even as her screaming at him got louder and louder
until I had to ask him one day, how can he take it
and he had no idea what I was talking about.
How I stopped eating when I was five
and became too weak to walk up stairs.
Call it an urge to disappear:
the sky itself becoming so large it envelops us
and we let it, we give in, we do not fight.


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