The steaming carafe drinks down the scant kitchen
light. Persistent, the bold sheen of dark roast slips
through, glossy as molasses, but splashing much thinner.
My body craves this bitter dose like sunshine hydration.
It reminds me of when our high school cross-country
coach invited each girl into his office to ask,
awkwardly, if we were still getting our period—
he was the kind of person who cared about our long-term
bone density with true sincerity. So when he suggested we sip
blackstrap molasses, in viscous ritual, for extra iron,
one acrid spoonful per day, I trusted him down to my blood
chemistry. I asked Mom if she could buy me some,
but she was adamant I already ate too much sugar. So
I did what any 16-year-old girl who was concerned about
her hemoglobin would do—I procured my own. I didn't have
a big cash flow, but I could spare $2.50 for a hammer
to flood my blood with nails. Tucked behind my dresser,
a sticky brown paper bag and tablespoon, serving up
my daily gagging. I'll never forget the day I came home
from school and Mom had cleaned my room. The bag
was gone. We've never spoken of it. As an adult,
I was diagnosed with an iron deficiency. I probably
need to go see a psychologist.