Kuchisabishii

Kuchisabishii is a Japanese word whose meaning
is best described as eating not from hunger 
but because your mouth is lonely. For instance,
you've just had dinner but can't settle down
with a book or crossword.  Rain is falling on the roof
but sleep eludes you again— tonight it's disappeared 
into the pantry, so you rummage among boxes of wheat 
crackers and tinned sardines, a bag of gummi worms 
left over from Halloween (your mouth is not that
lonely).  Perhaps it wants a cold leaf of ice 
from the freezer, a scoop speckled with vanilla
bean. The mouth is a door to a hundred hungers,
none of which you really understand anymore. 
One door is stress eating; another, grief
eating. There are eating-after-bad-breakups 
scenes in the movies, and eating from a surfeit
of joy. There was eating through long 
months of isolation: one cracked pumpkin 
seed at a time, and night after night soaked
in hot chili oil washed down with milk.


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