Death by Prime Rib

 This poem was inspired by the frustration and fear that many people, including myself, deal with when trying to keep the tendency for Type 2 diabetes under control. Sometimes in the angst of a moment, a usually-good-natured muse can run our minds through the darkest scenarios. It is a coping mechanism, one of the many wonderful functions of poetry (and creativity, in general).

She ordered three prime rib
dinners because we all have an
other side; hers was not the health-
conscious woman she was forced
to be by circumstances.
When she collapsed at the restaurant,
chunks of meat half eaten on a plate,
they said it wasn’t suicide,

that she choked on something
she couldn’t swallow, but nothing
was found in her esophagus,
and the emergency room
doctor didn’t know her well
enough to determine her death
was an accident—a heart attack
from lack of breath and panic.

But she was a depressed vegetarian
who simply gave up, meal-planned
to kill herself; she always said
she would one day take advantage
of her genetic liabilities
to carefully take herself out
of a world that clogged arteries
and a weary heart couldn’t handle.

Tired of metering glucose levels,
monitoring blood pressure,
conforming to caloric restriction,
the metabolic mess that was her body
craving fatal foods, her mind
became intrigued by the forbidden,
shadow side indulging until satisfied
with the inevitable result.

Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb is the author of the chapbook, Shapes That Stay (Kelsay Books, 2021). Her poetry has appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, The Comstock Review, About Place Journal, Slipstream Magazine, Plainsongs, AJN: The American Journal of Nursing, and other journals, with work forthcoming in the New York Quarterly and elsewhere. She holds an interdisciplinary MA.