My therapist says she can tell when I’ve not eaten
because I look pale,
pale honeycombs
and peaches with bruises,
delicate purple patches
thin skin stretched and bunched
to match my under eyes
you brought me a whole basket from the farmer’s market
and planted a kiss on my forehead, but
they sat on my counter until they melted, rot
and bled clear sparkling juice that drip drop
dripped onto the floor
don’t bother,
the cat will get it

The honeycrisps have bitter-pit,
dry and sour,
deep in the pit of my body
a vacant crystal chamber
where motherhood might have been.
I never wanted it anyway.
I cough up feathers with two right-hand fingers

When I was born,
I left my mother desolate
empty but for cartons of
frozen chicken tikka masala
and pistachio kulfi
as if she could eat her way home.
Comfort piled on,
exaggerating her hourglass,
her brown skin stretched with
pale criss-crossings,
she was twenty four when she found out
the fat had eaten her back
and she would not conceive again,
so she and I
have something in common,
and we think each other weak for it
but not ourselves.

When I became a woman,
mom told me she’s never met a thin person
who was also a good person,
in the same breath told me
I’m too big around the hips now
and that dad thinks so too
I never realized he looks at me the way he looks at her.
Her next breath is a blessing,
for losing the weight of an average house cat,
and the next, she condemns a pleated paper cup
of Danish butter cookies,
the day after Christmas.
The fat that soaked through the paper
has lived in my palm ever since.

When I had a growth spurt
out, not up
she stripped me and set me
on a scale and seethed
and told me we’d start fasting,
just liquids,
for as long as we could
so she could lose a hundred pounds
and I could lose ten
or more.

Our first summer, I told you,
speaking to the mesh in the window
of our third-floor studio,
that I could lose a hundred, maybe
I could become transparent,
you like how you can
wrap your hands
the whole way ‘round my waist, well.
I like that too.
I inhale it like powder.

You bought us a chocolate malt
to share at the diner on Ventura
all those tall, skinny palm tree women
I cried at the table
when I saw that thick pour
of heavy cream
but I sure felt light that night,
dizzy though I didn’t drink
your skin hinting at cedar bourbon,
dry and burning my lungs, my
dress tight on skin tight on bones,
weightless like birds’
bones that threaten to
peel away the skin that keeps them in
to burst out
confetti and glitter

god damn.
I wish they just would already

When I was sixteen,
I thought if I abstained from birthday cake
and only picked at dandelion seeds
I’d float away like they do, but
by twenty I only ate sand and glue and my lover’s thighs
and bled nothing at all
so it doesn’t matter if you fuck me raw
it really does not matter.