They tell her it’s good for her
and that they’re guilty they noticed too late
that it’s vital for her
(what she’s been doing during this prolonged period of pain).
Their scintillating partridge is ceaselessly pecking at her imperfections
as her physique shrinks
her sallow cheeks sink
mirrors imitate something that moos.
She is scarcely pecking at her plate
counting peas like points against her
cramming dinner rolls into napkins
crying as they throw threats
crushing her confidence
crumb by crumb.
Too full of self-loathing, her appetite is an apparition
only present at night – haunting
skirts slide like soap down her sides
while ribs are raised to the surface.
They offer her delicacies only duchesses taste
each turned away – potentially poisonous,
taking her to talk about her “problem”
telling her she’s beautiful
treating her as if she’s an egg in the wind sitting atop a skyscraper.
If she should try to fly
she’ll only crack
against the sidewalk
Funneling food into her mouth
regurgitated in reverse recompense
pennies packaged in pockets.
outsmarting the scale
Tears fall and collect like the feathers found in a battered down pillow,
everyone wondering when their pecking will perish.
She is the bone of the wing of the bird she was
Just eat it, they say
but no one knows the price she will pay.