"You need to lose
some weight." These empty
words, they are everywhere- my mother's touch,
my doctor's lips, fear in my throat when I swallow
butter and sugar and fat.
When you're as insecure as I am, it's impossible to love

the way you look. I wanted to love
my scarred, heavy hipbones, but sometimes, I looked in the mirror and I knew I was losing
control, I was spiraling into that space that fat
girls have, between depression and hunger, where my chest was empty
and my stomach was always full. I learned to swallow
my heartbeats like sleeping pills, because from the moment my head touched

my pillow, all I could think of was that my thighs touched,
and my cheeks jiggled, and my belly was a halo of love
around my organs, suffocating me, trying to swallow
me whole. I need to lose
some weight, I told myself, on empty
nights like those, and in the mornings, when I woke up and I swore my fat

had grown. I'm too fat
to be pretty, I'm too fat to touch
my own skin, I thought. Sometimes I wanted to poke holes in myself until I was empty,
loose skin on bone frames, free of my jelly filling. I loved
the thought of being weightless but I was scared I might lose
myself in carb-counting, like the years I've taught myself to swallow

the air and call it a meal, swallow
my toothbrush until chunks of fat
were trembling in my porcelain palms. A girl like me can get addicted to losing
weight, shedding numbers on the scale, touching
her collarbones like a blind man would clutch at his lover.
But then it was just me and the sound of my empty

stomach and the weight of my empty
heart. I spent so much time swallowing
my hurt because I thought that girls like me should beg our pantries for love,
not people, and it just got so lonely. I didn't know how to be a fat
girl and a girl who could be touched
in the space of this one body. To be honest, I could really lose

my mind, trying to lose all these empty pounds.
But maybe someday I'll learn how to touch my skin and swallow my poems
like pudding, flaunt the fat on my body, love my hipbones.

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