The Self-Help Cookbook Said


by Sandra Simonds

Your brain is broken and you need
to go on a broken brain diet
This is normal it said
We live in a polluted world and everything is dirty
You must understand how broken your brain is
Then the author was on YouTube jumping around like a maniac
He was convincing
I knew I had a problem
My son said Mom I don’t know how you do it
Cleaning up all the time like this

My sister said it’s probably your thyroid
But the self-help cookbook made me feel the best
because it was the most sadistic
Make sure everything you eat comes
directly out of the earth it said
If it doesn’t come directly out of the earth
It’s like eating poo
Now, you wouldn’t eat poo, would you?
I didn’t think so
Stuff like that
The recipes were time-consuming and complicated
I drank a lot of wine when I made them
Which you are not supposed to do

On my day off I walked to the Goodwill Bookstore
Not far from my house
I touched the little heart on my phone
It always feels good to touch a heart that’s mean to you
It said I had walked 1.23 miles today
I am a total failure the heart of my phone said
I kept walking anyway
The heart didn’t change much
Then I bought a 1943 edition of Birds of America
My son likes to draw birds
I like to watch him draw birds
Order of long-winded swimmers,
Order of herons, storks, ibises etc.,
He hummed to himself
And drew birds
Flocks of them while I made
dinner for my broken brain
Floating away like a cracked organ.


About the Author:

Sandra Simonds is the author of Orlando (Wave Books, 2018), Steal it Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015)The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012) and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2008). Her poems have been anthologized in the Best American Poetry 2014 and 2015. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Granta, American Poetry Review, The Chicago Review, Fence and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.