Miguel Barretto Garcia

Self Portrait after 8 Years of Intermittent Fasting

scrolling back, never knew it had a name: I just called it 
saving: shoestring still spooled, unbroken by the fates. 

I also call it breaking my grandfather’s command of thou 
shalt eat breakfast to break the fast. the emphasis, but here, 

to fast is also fast: hours wrangling through problem 
sets and coarsely-written course notes in the morning.

when microeconomics class ends, my scarcity cannot be 
more apparent, but I break bread with my classmates 

for lunch. in my hunger, food on the tray table was shared 
as a dream song for revolution. while we were learning 

the proof of arrow’s impossibility theorem, class was 
interrupted when students calling for catalan independence 

stormed in, demanding we break class, and march with 
them. outside, chairs stacked like shoulders of castellers, 

students gathered to drink beer and listened to fight 
songs. I was there. I have already broken my grandfather’s 

command. to break one more is a long debate over 
a foreign student’s costs and benefits of student activism 

on Skype. to compromise, I lie. I tell my separatist friends 
I will meet them at plaça catalunya to join them in forming

a human chain, then I tell my grandfather over Skype, 
I am eating well, eating three full meals, intermittent

internet signal facilitating my intermittent fast. I then
ask myself: pasta or chicken meal prep enough to last 

for a week? (never knew it was called meal prep). I can then 
tell my grandmother her instructions had helped. I read 

in a journal how intermittent fasting wakes the metabolism 
of the body: in other words, the body learns how to lie, 

and live with it. even with money and a profession, I still eat 
between 12 and 8, and I tell my grandfather I am eating well.

Miguel Barretto Garcia is completing their PhD in decision neuroscience at the University of Zurich. A spoken word performer in Zurich, their poems have appeared in Rattle, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, harana, wildness, Cordite Poetry Review, among others.