Previous Feature: Mindy Watson

Mindy Watson is a Washington, DC/Northern Virginia-based writer who holds an MA in Nonfiction Writing from The Johns Hopkins University. Her essays appear in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Ars Medica, Corvus Review, and Thread: A Literary Journal; her poetry appears in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Cemetery Moon Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, The Quarterday Review, and Snakeskin Poetry.



A barren bluff your college junior year,
Exuding perfect flatness, faultless wan
Austerity, you tend your bone-bare plains
Desireless: in complete control. But then
The clinic workers crow, “We’re watching you;
You have to eat.” And every fractal you
Ingest appends oppressive snow upon
Your precipice. This weight cannot remain.

You avalanche the winter you’re alone
At school. Your mother’s sugar-streaked desserts
Festooned, prone waiting in their cookie tins
Incite sensation’s need, inflame and melt
Your cliff’s substantial snowpack. Frenzied, you
Devour them all: sweet Santas, frosted bells.
Elation wilts control; your belly swells.
Then panic tilts your icy load askew.

They launch your trembling snowpack down—straight down:
The probing index finger, bristled tooth-
Brush handle. Ill-got grub jets downward, cakes
The cookie tin in pre-digested guilt
Disgorged before self-loathing permeates.
As masticated frosting grips once crisp
White parchment paper, post-storm peace sets in:
The crags razed clean. The sterile scarcity.

The snow, however, won’t stop falling. Just
One fleck of frozen mass or errant wind
Or solar surge inclines your bluffs, incites
The wild accumulating splurge and purge.
Those avalanches roar ten years (or more).
Your body bears their telltale signs: regressed
Red gums and calloused knuckles. Burst blue veins
Against your cheeks. But then you say, no more.

Your cliffs now stay meticulously flat,
Worn slopeless, flush with land’s gray gradient.
Firm obligations and compulsive low-
Carb diets keep them scrupulously shorn
Of snow, ensuring chaos-slides can’t form.
Each day, you log each sip, each gulp. You swat
Away all flakes—disdainful reprobates!—
That flurry near. You mustn’t lose control.

But after this Thanksgiving’s passed, you once
Again perceive that strain. The guests are gone,
The dishes done. The towels folded and
Rehung. The void that noise’s absence leaves
Sparks snow’s accumulation. Forging flames
Upon your mounting peaks, exalted scents
Of turkey, noodles, buttered buns, and beans
Escape refrigerated quarantine.

Just one unsanctioned bite re-carves the course;
You’re staring down that steep, slick gorge of old.
Your snowpack’s swelling slope precedes the fall
You know too well: the stomach lurch, the hand
Inserted down your throat four fingers deep.
The lancing need to strip the snowy cliffs.
And aftershock’s cathartic peace. The bloodshot eyes,
The racing heart. The deluge’s release.


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