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Portrait of the Addict as Esau
Jesse Berton (bio)

I was very hungry. I was in the open country
four days hunger tightened me until I hummed
the sparse song of my prey and that was hunger.
I held a wild goat down by the hair and watched his eye

a black bar splitting through a dilated sun
occlude because he came to the stream where I was.
Came looking for supper. That’s one answer to the question
what does hunger cost. Another:

Sun at midday pricking stars in Jacob’s tent.
The smell of food. If I could ask my prey
about the moment hunger overcame the cost
of hunger. Leaving Jacob’s tent. How would prey leave

if it could go on living after it encountered me?
I give up my birthright. More. Inheritance. My blessing.
My skin. I am leaving Jacob’s tent. The sun’s hand
on my face like it’s a stranger’s.

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