at my 16th year check-up
my doctor tells my mother and I that I am slightly over weight
she says so just
“as a warning”
5’2, 130 pounds
and on the way home I imagine
all the ways I can shrink into myself
fast forward years later and
I am still picturing the same things
only I’ve gotten better at
taking action
I used to wonder what
constituted health
learned quickly that people like
to decide what it means
with their eyes first
think a quantity
is a fair definition
of worth
as if effort only matters
if it’s noticeable
as if success only counts
if you fit differently
into clothes that used to be too small
I know how to close my eyes
when stepping on a scale in
an unfamiliar place
and even if I don’t own myself
I still know that this world has
a way of making
human into number
an equation for health today
for a woman like me
seems to be
a green smoothie plus a stomach half empty
flattened gut and a bag of tea to subtract
the contents left within
it’s never made much sense to me
that healthy is supposed to feel
like going to bed hungry
that you are supposed to want
to be equivalent to nothing
and every year on my birthday
I am 16 again
still trying to make anything
but a home out of my body
the only comfort coming from
the knowledge that it isn’t just me
who holds their breath at the sight
of a measurement
if you tell a little girl she is
beautiful, it wont stay
in her memory very long
but tell her she is fat and
she will be able to recall
every detail from that moment
with clarity

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