“Breakfast”—he just called me that one day and it fit. Sometimes it led to confusion, like when I responded to it as my name to strangers chatting at the next table about eggs Benedict versus lemon ricotta pancakes. Or when he titled one of his paintings “Breakfast Was a Disaster,” and I thought he meant me, but really he’d thought of it when he knocked over the part of the juicer holding all the carrot chum. When we got takeout he’d have us take a few bites of each other’s dish and then guess the spices—I usually said turmeric and was almost always wrong. When he stopped eating meals with me, I knew he’d be gone soon, but I still craved the taste on his tongue and how it was the same or different from mine. I grew so hungry, I could’ve eaten the moon. He told me I sleep like a hot dog turning on the rotisserie in a 7-11, crackling and dripping. Back then, crystals of rock candy bloomed on my tongue when I spoke to him, but his spewed grains of salt when it was his turn. Now I’m with someone who kneads my dough like he’s starving. Someone who wouldn’t rather hold a chilled popsicle stick leg instead of my soggy thighs, puckering like they just need five more minutes in the oven. Who calls me all four syllables of my legal name. Now breakfast is just a meal I haven’t eaten in years.
Lexi Kent-Monning is an alumna of the Tyrant Books workshop Mors Tua Vita Mea in Sezze Romano, Italy. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in XRAY, Joyland, Tilted House Review, Neutral Spaces, Little Engines, and elsewhere. More of her work can be found at lexikentmonning.com
image: MM Kaufman