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What You Think is a Serving of Rice

by Lana Pochiro

after an instagram post demonstrating that what you think is a serving of rice is, in fact, far too many essential grains for daily consumption if you’d like to prevent weight gain.

you think a serving of rice is:

3pm when the sun slaps golden through your living room curtains. you have the opportunity to debate whether it is a waste of sun to keep the curtains closed or a waste of you to be blinded by beams for an hour. 3pm is a non-empty time.

emoji hearts sent via instagram to a friend from college (who invites you out to a gay club when she visits new york) each time her writing is published. she returns the favor, always more enthusiastically than you, and you wonder if either of you would answer a phone call from the other.

a new instagram account for only following plant and poetry accounts. wondering if people think you spend too much time on instagram. deleting instagram. being unafraid of sharing your successes on instagram. being unafraid of others’ successes shared via instagram. lying. deleting instagram.

what you think is a serving of rice is actually:

three spoonfuls of this bougie vegan ice cream your boyfriend has been wanting to try. you buy it for him because you ruined his birthday by almost shitting yourself in a brewery taproom. he says it tastes like fruity pebbles, but it’s supposed to be earl grey. he says you probably have IBS.

this guy with parental money paying his master’s degree tuition at nyu who your boyfriend has to ask for help getting an admin job. when this guy finds out you’re a transplant from ohio, he tells you that he’s from san diego, he’s reclaiming the word redneck, and he thinks it’d be cool to move to some neglected midwest town. you tell him your grandparents were beaten and arrested while striking, isn’t that quirky?

the friend from college who invites you out to a gay club when she visits new york. you pay the cover even though the gay club next door is free and better anyways. she introduces you to all of her Woke writer friends and her boyfriend. a cute, short girl in paint-splattered overalls asks you if you’re queer because yah know it’s hard to tell with high femmes. you had been so proud of the “men’s” boxers creeping over the top of your baggy jeans. you don’t mention how your friend would get drunk in college and find you to tell you that you’re beautiful. you don’t mention how she pushed you against a pool table, pressed a hand on your front seam, and woke up straight the next day.

what is actually a serving of rice is:

eating a whole bag of edamame knowing that the estrogen soy will scrape off your body’s wallpaper. it’s late and your freezer is otherwise empty. the gynecologist office you called hung up on you when you asked what do you mean you don’t know if you take my insurance. you cope because at least this acid wash is green, as in pure, as in purged.

calling your mom twice a week during your twelve-minute walk to the subway. you ask how work at her walmart store/bankruptcy filing/divorce is going. you ask if she needs money, and know that you will have to cut her off with i love you when the train arrives.

rarely having sex with your boyfriend (whom you love, it’s worth noting), and leaning on the lies his maleness tells your family. he says you’d be happier if you dated his coworker. she thinks its cute to call you her girlfriend. now pride is gucci-branded but your strata of gay is more like ruining dockers you need to wear to work with glitter glue and nerds rope.

whenever you really feel the fat on your body, you are an eight-year-old flower girl in your aunt’s wedding. your cousin is telling you how uncooked rice expands inside birds’ stomachs and kills them. you are remembering how moments ago you opened your fist into the air, thrilled to launch a hundred messes into the world that you won’t be made to pick up. 

the next time you go to a queer theatre performance and the performer asks the audience to come dance onstage, you think you’ll dance. you think you won’t just watch all of the beautiful queer couples whirl in joy from your chair, your boyfriend’s old navy khaki pants in periphery. instead of sitting there with a dorky smile testing your face muscles and hot tears running into your gaping mouth, you think you’ll dance. you think this is brave. you think is truth, freedom, and youth. you think this is living.

(you’d think you would know what is and what is not by now.)

Lana Pochiro is a queer poet proudly from the mix of Appalachia and Rust Belt found in Youngstown, Ohio. You can also read her work in Rogue Agent and follow her on Instagram at @lana.m.p.