4/6

A guide to dissecting your own body:
//watch girls eat donuts
wish it was you,
wish you had the ability to,
wish you didn’t care so
much, wish you didn’t own so
many god damn mirrors
//wonder when this started happening
wonder how your indifference molded into
obsession, remember that addiction
can be more than substance
remember that it’s in the family
//remember there was a time when a nutrition label wasn’t a stop sign
remember there was a time when you ate without counting
remember that today’s happiness isn’t going to be tomorrow’s
remember that you look fucking fine as is
remember that there are people hungry
remember that you are hungry for something that cannot satisfy
//dissect every piece of food that meets your tongue
dissect every inch of skin that looks misplaced
feel as if every inch is misplaced
//stare at yourself too long in the morning
look at your reflection when he kisses you
pretend you see what he sees when he does
//eventually
your friends will stop asking
if you want to go out to dinner
//remember that there is a time in
every girl’s life
when she is unafraid of taking up
too much space
remember that it’s a time
you can no longer remember
//your mother will call you thin
the next time you come home and
you will wish you had eyes like hers
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4/5

Smile more
-but
keep your happiness elusive
show it to the world only when prompted
wear your heart on your sleeve
make sure it doesn’t bleed openly
don’t be too sensitive or weak
don’t find disgust in violence
don’t cringe at gore
don’t talk about your period
don’t talk about yourself
don’t talk
-you’re perfect as is
but try this tea
juice
cleanse
who needs food anyway
detox
waist trainer
modern day corset
diet
diet
diet
suffocate your organs into a
cast until they forget what they exist to do and
your body can’t remember why
it ever wanted to be anything but
content
-be confident
comfortable
get your bikini body
get summer ready
grow your ass
shrink everything else
how dare you find pride in your skin,
in the excess of it
how dare you face the sun without
attempting to cower in it’s presence
-be modest like
you weren’t born naked
be mother like
you are only good for your uterus
be more than your womanhood
don’t be a feminist
be one of the men but
don’t demand equality
ask politely and
you still wont get it
-hold your own opinions
not too tightly
strong beliefs make you crazy
any belief makes you crazy
crazy if you disagree
crazy if you fight back
don’t be a pushover
-laugh out
grow in
expand
keep to yourself
speak up
don’t say too much
-smile
smile
smile
don’t let the world see your teeth bent
be anything but
crooked
smile
believe and you can
be anything that isn’t
what you are already

4/4

strength in flesh
is not a flattened stomach with
a mountain range across it
nor is it a back with symmetrical indents
it is not how much you can lift
or how much you can carry
but rather how you carry it
//sometimes strength is only going to one class
but still going
sometimes it is only getting one thing on today’s list done
but still getting something done
sometimes strength is a bare face willing to leave the house
sometimes it is just getting yourself to leave the house
//strength looks like feeding yourself even though you’re not starving
it is teeth brushing, even if it’s quick
hair washing, even if it’s only once a week
laundry now and then
enough water to keep hydrated
it is two socks, probably unmatched
a shirt, pants, and maybe a bra
the breath it takes to put them on
to walk outside to be human
//sometimes strength is a bit of last night’s dinner stuck to the side of a plate
still holding on somehow
//the spider from underneath the couch
attempting to survive another day
uncertain in plans
but determined

4/3

I used to swear I’d never
sit on the same side of the restaurant booth as you
or anyone for that matter
I’ve always equated it
to shining a spotlight
on they who choose to sit like that
a bright bulb on the couple
who can’t be apart from each other
long enough to finish a meal
-but on a sunday night in a deli
where the only lovers
are over the age of sixty-seven
I decide I can make an exception
because it would be a mistake
to not want to sink next to you
as you eat matzoh ball soup for the first time
and this way I have a closer hand
to both yours and the food I know
you won’t finish
-with this view we make a drive-in
out of the dinner
the rest of the patrons, a scene
for us to watch in unison
smiling as
we enjoy the lack of
space between our beings
-this closeness
is a privilege I used to shake my head at
mock in disgust before I knew how it was
to be this content with someone
it’s an easy thing to dismiss a sort of happiness
before you understand it
but there is certainly a kind of
magic that comes with a lack of
distance

4/2

After a man bends down in front you pretending to drop something in order to violate you on his way up

we giggle like
young girls at the mall being
followed by boys
who don’t know
how to take
refusal with grace

young girls on a walk home
from school and a car
following behind
a little too close

young girls who breathe
relief at every story that
their mother says
could have easily been
them

young girls who
go to the bathroom in
groups for a reason

young girls who fake
phonecalls at the bus stop
with exceptional talent

we chuckle like
they who are
making a defense mechanism
out of discomfort for the first time.

it’s always in retrospect-
the fighting back
It’s always fist and rage and all the opposite
of what a lady is supposed to be
the politeness drained from flesh into blue fingertips ready
to carve the man out from his body

all nails and weighted hands-
this is what it is when looking back
but in the actual
moment the girl
in me tells the woman
I am to laugh it off
to toss back in humor and walk blindly forward
hold this head up high
with the years of threads
I’ve pinned to its base to
keep it from tilting
to trade anger for ignorance
to replace reaction with a lack of
to swallow pride because that method
has always been
safer than resistance

It’s the minutes after
when I imagine what I didn’t do
a stranger, crouches consciously
to invade space he knows damn well isn’t his
and the image of his smiling satisfaction
as he continues on
try and make an excuse to myself like
maybe it’s a mistake but any mistake
wouldn’t be given away
by the corners of his lips stretching outward
meticulous

I picture
my knee charging into his teeth,
the impact of muscle against face
wonder if he’d still be grinning with the blood staining his mouth
think about my tongue doing more than sitting still
say my body’s not the only weapon I have to show
scream so loud that the whole bar turns a head to pay attention
remember the pepper spray hanging from my purse
remember that it’s existence is only ever remembered after the fact

and my laugh,
never enough voice
to knock the guts it took to touch me
back into his stomach
my brave,
never enough courage to
take the fear out of risk

I am
a response without a throat
and my silence,
the regret that wins
most often

we giggle because
it’s what we know best
like we’re well aware of the fact
that we didn’t have all these years of
practice
for nothing

4/1

I have always been
a fool when it comes this
but in six months in I have realized
I don’t need to be anything else
because fool or not
I am still yours
and somehow
you still want me

It is april
and spring’s arrival has
never seemed more warranted

To be with you

-is to feel the glow of light

even in darkness

is to want now to last forever
while still anticipating
tomorrow

is to draw a future
between the cracks of your smile
is to fill myself
in the lifeline of your palm

is to color cheeks into blush
at the sight of your gaze
is to stretch a smile
into a mountain range

is to pour myself
in the indents of your ribcage

is to hear a reminder of you
every time a love song plays
is to finally understand
why they were made

is to not have fully understood
a good night of sleep
until it is spent by your side

to be with you-
is to find god in our silence
to see the holy in our touching
to say grace for this feeling
and pray that it stays.