The Weight

I was hollow shadows holding
onto four hours of sleep
and Ambien, wearing
sunglasses inside, under
excruciatingly dim lights.
My eye sockets sinking
into my cheekbones. People
would visit my mom’s
hospital room with omelets
that I couldn’t stomach. I’d cling
to coffee watching her
debilitating body, shrinking.
Visitors told me I looked thin,
wonderful even, and what
had I been doing lately?
I’d say, “Starving.”
“Popping melatonin.”
“Sipping saltwater
pouring down my cheeks.”
You. Look. Stunning!

When I reverted back
to myself over time,
healing, becoming fleshy
again, nobody said
a word. And I can’t
recall seeing my reflection
in straight lines and baggy
blue jeans and feeling sexy.
Nor do I remember
this inept vanity in society
to treat sizeable people
as invisible
until they’re molded
to shrink to exist, inch by inch,
to become smaller and smaller,
until they show their clavicle.
That’s when you finally notice them:
when they’re disappearing altogether.


Photograph by Thomas Lefebvre


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