Once you’ve been one, you never aren’t. “Chubette”
is a bullet that shatters a day of shopping. It is true,
isn’t it, that once you’ve seen your self fat in 3 way
mirrors, or photographs, cringed when someone yells
“Fatso” you see that image at 120 pounds, at 90. I
stood on the edge of the scale so gingerly, I bruised
my instep. In ballet, if someone is losing weight, they
wear a yellow leotard or pale lavender but switch back
to black when they’ve gained a few pounds. “zaftig”
only sounds nice but isn’t, I will never believe anyone
truly loves dragging enough fat to make a separate
person around with them. Say “fat is beautiful,” call
them plus sizes. Well though I know it’s not pc, I
think it’s a lie. Still, I think I shouldn’t be writing this
poem, that it could annoy or hurt somebody, someone
who has tried to leave what they don’t need to drag
around, what damages their heart. When you’re
surrounded by ballet babies, spider legs and arms,
one anorexic, or bulimic, what isn’t there seems to matter
more than what is. I think of my sister, once the skinny
beauty, who needed eggnogs to give her strength, until,
wounded maybe, she built a wall of flesh around her
you can’t get through. Don’t you think you’ve been
touched by all this? I think of the year I chewed gum to
not eat, got lots of cavities. Listen, I know this poem is
in trouble, in as much trouble as I will be if I finish it,
publish or worse, read it. Once when I read a poem called
Fat at a woman’s center, some walked out and the ones
who didn’t were angry. But like the Shakers who wanted
everything stripped to the barest essentials, like an aunt
emptying her house of what she didn’t need, I know there’s
a lot I could get rid of. Here I’m talking about pounds but
if you took a look at my closets you’d see they are stuffed
with what I should shed: 5 inch heeled boots, Betsey Johnson
skirts, so much black velvet you could imagine yourself
under an enormous midnight sky, lost in the dark with
no light or exit.

 

 

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