The Biggest Loser

by Don McIver

Videos stream the oil dumping from a pipe
5000 feet below the ocean surface,
and the brown,
goopy, molasses like substance
is scooped up in a reporters hand
from the side of a boat.
Interviews are granted,
political observations,
independent investigations,
destroyed fisheries and marshlands,
birds coated in oil,

A black cast iron skillet
warms on an electric stove:
water beads then steams off
as I drop a chunk of butter
on the surface.
The butter melts and becomes what it is: fat,

Tabloids announce
this diet caused this:
Glossy prints, before and after,
inches gone,
belt sizes shrunk,
photographic evidence
of the trimming of fat,

I look at my oversized gut
and see the molecules and globules of fat
just below the surface of my skin.
Oversized cells
storing fat for some explosion of energy
that my body doesn’t use anymore
so it sits there,
obstructs my view.

A bear pokes at a raspberry bush,
digs grubs from a downed tree,
scoops a live fish from a riverbed,
and fattens,
layer upon layer
as it stumbles through summer
towards hibernation,
slowly burning the fat,
it stored for the winter.

My grandfather melted tallow
and string together to make candles,
read by candlelight into the small hours of the morning,
finally blowing the flame out,
flame that survived by burning oil,

A high school kid,
crawls under my car
and unwinds a nut
as the black oil,
from the engine drops into a bucket.

I look at the cracked skin on my heel,
dry, the skin flakes away
as I rub fat,
oil into it to keep it from flaking more.

A husband looks at his new bride
on a beach towel on South Padre.
She turns over and asks that he rub oil,
fat into her skin.

A poet puts a blank disc into his computer,
clicks on plastic keys
and listens to the fan rev up
as the tracks are burned onto the disc.
He takes the small plastic circle
and spins it around his finger.
It is smooth to the touch,
hardened oil,

We live in a house that is
powered by fat.
Drive to work in a car that is
powered by fat,
sit behind a computer screen that is
powered by fat,
made out of plastic that is
made by fat.
We are fat.
Fat executives write press releases
and brag about how the Deepwater Horizon
was the new record holder,
a rig capable of drilling a hole
25,000 feet below the ocean’s surface
making its owners a lot of fat cash.
Then something

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