Jean Esteve


“Do not turn your back on yourself.”

Advice from a long-ago weighing machine
where you stood on the scale, put a penny in
and read your weight (two hundred and ten),

while a flimsy slip of paper dropped from a slot,
advice I’ve saved all these years and that
I daresay heeded,

for to ignore it would bring about such contortion
and painful skin-splitting that I prefer to tote
my back on my back as exhorted.

Yesterday I ate a Chinese cookie,
gobbled it, such a pig for sweets am I,
and almost choked on a paper fortune,
which I retrieved, damp and stained
with cookie paste, yet still legible.
I found this warning: “Face

I figured I’ve gotten this far, stayed complete,
why risk what I might regret?

Merriment. Merriment. Merriment.