By Robert Annis

Three midnights a week I’m called to wrestle
noxious ferment from my stomach, eject
tar, and fall asleep on numb legs. Special
doctors teach me to scapegoat cheese and milk.
They disparage the butter on my toast
while the bread roils my small intestine.
My cheeks sink in, my ribs begin to show,
and purple circles crescent both my eyes,
but I like it. It proves that something’s wrong—
that these slow hours in darkness are real
and the moonlight cast across my clenched jaw,
reflecting off my parents’ pool, meets tears
that are not wept in vain. I know the pain
of not knowing why I am sick again.

Robert Annis is a poet writing out of Tampa, Florida who managed to spend two weeks in Japan without any Gluten-related incidents. His poetry has been published in journals including The Shanghai Review, Exit 7, and  American Tanka.