Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of
Contemporary Literature

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 8, Number 1
(Spring 2013)

Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.

All future rights to
material published
in the
Apple Valley
are retained by
the individual authors
and artists.
Cannibal Pie
by Sharlene Teo

Days eating days.  Calendar drain.  I leave my job and my boyfriend
leaves me.  He tells me I am too bloody-minded.  I picture my brain:
supermarket steak.  Whole days I cannot shed
my bed.  Finally, I head to the corner shop to get some wine.  Two bottles
for £12.99.  I check my phone, roll my eyes to the floor.  I don’t look
and hate to learn.  I get slapped by a branch.  A small bruise arrives

on my face, a vessel-keen ache mapped out in red.  I leave it
uncovered, a dish full of flies.  
What a dish, I tell the dusty mirror,
I tell my sharp, chipped tooth.  My mother sends me a postcard
with a Christian dove, ostensibly flying to Jesus.  
It gets better,
the postcard says.  I hate the font.
So it gets better, they say.  Like the monster in the movie

who turns out to be vegetarian, foreign to menace,
a modest, touchable thing reconciling during the end minutes
with the motley villagers, the best supporting actors, the buildings
made of clay.  I switch off before they start singing or
something equally embarrassing for all involved; I’m including
you, Epiphany Lighting assistant, and you, gag prop man,
holding out an offending branch.

I once knew a girl who was allergic to shame.  She would turn bright red
and change the subject.  Maybe that’s everyone; let’s start again.
I once knew a girl who was allergic to makeup.  
It makes my eyes burn
and my skin flake off
, she said.  We were only eight.  I wonder where she is
right now, peeling something delicious, or nodding on a bus—her face phased out
of focus, a blank mug on the edge of a counter, tempting fate.


Sharlene Teo is completing a Prose Fiction MA at the University of
East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom.  Her poetry has appeared in
publications such as
Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Softblow, Quarterly
Literary Review Singapore
, and the Ballard Street Poetry Journal.  
She is currently working on her first novel, and a selection of her writing
can be found at

On “Cannibal Pie”:
I was interested in writing a semi-humorous poem about
hopelessness and gnawing solipsism.  I had the image in my mind
of a vegetarian monster for a long time and it found its way into
the poem.

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