I Looked into the Refrigerator


Recently I looked into the refrigerator
For a long time

I let the door angle wide
Like an arm that wants a hug

In a yoga class last week
I let a long-voiced person tell me to breathe

It was a day where I “worked from home” so I started to feel undisciplined
And went to let someone tell me where to push my oxygen

She sang for me to inhale into my hip sockets and I did
And feelings romped in
Like a bevy of otters

I use my feeling body for leverage with people all the time
I use it to gain things, to win things from people
I wedge it into spaces in conversations
And into rooms reserved for other people

I shouldn’t say “people”
Since that’s not how it works
But when you have alone time it’s good
To give your body space to grow

The fridge leaked its square of yellow cold onto my feet
I was in it like a spotlight

I come from a long lineage of women
Who looked into the refrigerator

When I felt like I should be done
I just kept looking

The difference between men and women in my mind is spatial
With men I look at New Jersey real estate or talk about winning contests

I don’t think about space
Because I am a 3D model
Rotating unthinkingly

But with women I take cues
I follow their lead when they order food
I follow their pace when they drink

And when they leave my company
I image search them as weather happens around me
Wondering what their relationship to taking up space is like

I open a split of sparkling wine left over from somebody’s wedding
And when I finish it the refrigerator hums
Like a lonely giraffe

There is a fight at the bird feeder outside
The birds are all tiny but nobody wants to collaborate
It’s a very cold day

There is a condition to every relationship, and you have to pick a side
And I can finally say which side I would pick




Niina Pollari is a writer and translator in Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of Dead Horse (Birds, LLC 2015) and the translator, from the Finnish, of Tytti Heikkinen's The Warmth of the Taxidermied Animal (Action Books, 2012).