[May 6]

Food is energy is life is strength is food
is what I have to tell myself these days, because
otherwise it’s so hard to get out of the cycle
of eating-not-eating, fork balanced on plate,
laptop balanced on hipbones, early in the summer. I was born
with strong, big legs and a big ribcage whose bones
lie too close to the surface, and if I could trade those things
for my roommate’s beautiful oval face, tiny waist,
her delicate movements as she eats one slice of quesadilla
to my two plates of nachos, I would but then again
I wouldn’t. Because this ribcage has kept me going
through asthma attacks and panic attacks. Because these legs
got me out of a warzone and into my future. My body is less
like a best friend and more like the best
kind of parent, and even in these dark days when I circle
my thumb and middle finger around my arm
and rub my sternum like a rosary, I want to do my body proud.
This isn’t about you. And it’s not about weight. It never was.
My roommate says I don’t eat that much and my friend says
You don’t have that much weight to lose but I don’t say
anything at all, because step by step I’ll get out of this,
one day my daughter will catch me in spandex
and stretch marks and still look at me like I made the sun.
I am more than skin and bone, more than porcelain and gold,
and the bites and swallows sing:
strength is
life is
energy is
strength is food.


a drying rack
five more minutes
a loving family
a plate and spoon
pain medicine
neck kisses at night
a water bottle
healthy feet
a smaller waist
a safe apartment
a better mind
a grey cat
a smaller world