The tentacles of an octopus against a very dark background.

December 2022 MoonBite: charybdia

by Michele Evans

  • Slide Deck includes the text from the poem, author bio, and image credits. All this text is in the body of the page for accessibility. Images are dark sea and nature scenes.

[kah-rib-dee-ah] n. pr.
a sea monster in homer's odyssey


this midnight beast compels my nervous stomach to howl as rosy fingertips
dive deeply into pools near the back of my throat. three times each day 
i spew up sickness, whatever mom forced fed me before, this unhealthy
(life threatening ritual) way of carving too thick thighs, tree trunks 
rooted in disguise because endless hundreds on worn tracks did nothing 
for my never petite, never rock hard, never bikini ready bod, 
so i flushed chunks, flesh outracing globs of bile, round and round until 
eye won, till i was no longer (in)visible anymore.


mom always said nothing good happens after midnight, so when i get caught 
between a rock and hard place i know she is right before i tripped, facepalming 
with the white porcelain from years ago, too loudspeakers drowned out his true 
intentions as my innocence grasped the frosted rosé he generously sent my way. 
a vile poisonous pinch swirling round and round until melting on the glass floor,
my shapeless body by the narrow alleyway door, where laid out on my back 
i stared past nobody, a faceless lout from a distorted reality, the roof above 
disappearing into a blackened sky as he swallowed me whole.


when mom released the refrain clogged in her windpipe, i discovered the big rocks 
of her life metastasized. yellowed, like pages from a worn story, she “survived” 
on a liquid diet cocktail, one part chemo, two parts faith, with a splash of radiation, 
traveling her canals, reducing her from trunk to twig, upchucking everything, sometimes
nothing, a nervous stomach feeding on what i use to starve. swallowed whole 
by a [sic] headed monster, her wrinkly pink fingertips pressed together in prayer 
choosing the lesser of two evils, she refused to pay homage anymore, so i watched 
her life whirlpool down the drain littering the sea for one last midnight.

About the Author:

Michele Evans, a native Washingtonian and graduate of Smith College, is a writer and high school English teacher.  Despite always wearing the color black, she has a fondness for blueberries, blue hydrangeas, blues singers, and blue mountain coffee. 

You can connect with Michele on Instagram at @awordsmithie.


Image Credits: All images are from Unsplash. Images have been colorized and cropped. Title Page & Credits: Yaselyn Perez; page 2 & 3: Karl Groendal, page 4 & 5: Adrien LeD; page 6 & 7: Sime Basioli. Graphic Design: Teresa Berkowitz

7 thoughts on “December 2022 MoonBite: charybdia

  1. The words from this poem are stuck in my mind: rooted, globs, poisonous pinch, wrinkly pink fingertips. Gorgeous writing and beautiful images. Such an amazing pairing.

    Liked by 1 person

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