In the land of self-love I converge upon
a Taco Bell off the interstate.
Here, a collection of fast food restaurants. Down the road, what used to be
a town, now a smattering of Dollar General stores.

My therapist and I cut a deal.
I eat what I want when I am hungry, no matter what it is, and she doesn’t tell me
that I am unwell. I have memorized the patterns on her curtains,
the shape of under her desk, because I cannot look into someone’s eyes
and talk. In the drive-thru I remind myself
that I am allowed to eat. I am not thinking about my macros.
When I am alive, I get to keep being alive. I see few other benefits
some days.

The end game is living. The end game is alive.

Emily Blair is a queer Appalachian writer and blue-collar scholar originally from Fort Chiswell, Virginia. She currently teaches college English in central North Carolina, where she lives with one determined cat and many nearly eaten (nontoxic) houseplants. Her most recent publications can be found in Hobart, Heavy Feather Review, Barren Magazine, and others. More information about her, and more of her work, can be found on her website,, and on Twitter @Em__Dash__.

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