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'She could be great
if she lost the weight.'--
These words burned into my mind

And I find that brand on my skin
In the form of slaps and bruises,
Grabs and pinches, trying to
Determine the length, the number
That is always over, never under.

Wait, don't go,
stay, be late.
I'm sure I can bite off the extra space I take,
I can rake my nails over thunderous thighs,
Compromise my breath
by wearing bras not my size.
I can be slight and slender
In my demeanor,

Look how invisible I am when I'm not on stage,
When I'm not in the dance!
You might glance me in the beginning
As I'm wearing a winning grin
And a sheen of sweat,
Worried to be found out as fat.

I promise I can dance,
See, look at all this art that I craft
With my hands and my heart.
Yes, my body as well
But you can barely tell.

The swell of my ******* rise and fall
With the breath in my chest, but
I can't rest, comforting words are
Too frail a nest.
Witness my hyperventilation
in this body fixation,
This determination that I can't be enough
There is far too much of me.

But I'm pushing, pushing back
I ask for gentleness,
  I begin to allow my bones to enjoy
   their cocoons
    Of muscle and fat and sinew.
     This is a body.
      And this body moves.
It reaches and teaches
  Grasps, gasps, hands clasp,
   Knees collapse, voice rasps,
    It's all valid.
    Eating salad won't fix what isn't broken.
The space I take up
Is my entry token into the world,
It's my ticket stub that can't be snubbed,
My admittance isn't denied
Because of my thighs.
My lungs are given permission
To the air, my heart receives
A knowing nod that I too may be cared for.

Life and love,
They love me all the same.
I must not blame and shame my size,
Using my eyes as daggers
that try to cut and carve away the excess.
Let my eyes be a balm,
To calm and to soothe what once
Was an abused and used,
And refused vessel.

I ask for gentleness,
Something new.
I ask for gentleness
From you, too.
Yes, I'm staying 'active'.
No, I'm not motivated
to do the things I
used to enjoy,
but I'm still doing them
because look at me,
I continue to operate
through the dysfunction.

The question is whether
this means I'm not so bad,
or my desire to not look
like the world's laziest slob
is the only thing getting
me out of bed.

Gotta get that Vit. D,
take mental health walks
and see the people I love,
all while smiling through
what feels like
the thickest fog and looking
through leaden eyelids.
All I want to do
is go back to
a dreamless sleep.
Wake me up
when I'm a person who
functions by desire
and not by design.
The glory of busy
Isn’t lost on me
The shame of time
Seeps down like rain
Drenching my lank hair
how dare you have
The luxury of restlessness,
I whisper to me.

The way my hands wring
And feet tap, toes cringe,
Teeth bite dry lips
And eyes glaze over
With this lack of action,
I feel my body revolt
When not called to duty,
To serve, to provide
To do the most.

Shivers travel down
My spine, enter my heart
Pumping electric blood into
Shaking limbs,
Quivering muscles
Empty throat and squashed
voice box, ears
Ringing, singing
Jingles to myself
In disgust and fun

I need help.
Save me from
The indignity of a frozen
Mind and a body too stiff
To act upon all
Those tasks that could
Make me so perfect,
fit and thin
Clean and together
All gathered into one
Human who didn’t forget
How to exist in the moment
Because what might I do
With the next?
I fly by night
over scapes of sea and isle,
I'll fall gently down,
a floating cloud,
a feather landing
upon sodden earth,
damp and bedraggled,
a small part of a whole.
A small bit of soul.

I pick and pick my
fingers, the nails flake
and chip, limestone
on tender red waves,
riding over sediment of
The plane drones on
and I can't cross my legs,
collapse myself like fire logs,
I must supplicate to
the outstretch, the lack
of bend that mends
an anxious brain, feign
sleep, down deep
in the fog of wakefulness
the foreverness of an
alert brain that wishes
to rest, a cat tail that
swishes, a bat awake
at night, I am nocturnal.

On airplanes, my red eyes stay open,
closing down thoughts of
dreams I may live to
forget instead I get
streams of consciousness
and cramping legs,
too straight to be
built for slumber,
can I slowly timber
and fall into
unrest? the best I can
do for now, how
would it be to kick
down the seat
in front of me, and
have them fold
neatly in two while I use
the space to take up less,
needing more, the
floor is too close,
the window touches
my elbow, my toes
cramp, damp in
the ever so slight bend
in my knees that squeeze
into 90 degrees of discomfort.

Only four more hours
of this poor excuse
for a seat, meet
a real chair, why don't you,
and learn by example
the ample room
you could provide.
My behind, find it
in your stitches
to give more room
lessen the gloom
that lingers on
long flights, due to
this upright spoon
position, a notion
that makes my
nose crinkle as my
knees crackle and pop,
let the drop happen
soon, may I fall,
may I float,
land this air boat
that rides unsteady
waves of wind and fog.

May I rest like the tail of
an unhappy dog.
My home is the way
My husband reaches out
For me in his sleep, and
I am wrapped in his embrace
And his subconscious.

My home is the little kisses
On my fingers
When I stroke
My cat's nose.

My home is a wondering mind
That feels like a city
I hardly know, so
I keep returning to the same
Neighborhoods, because I'm
Too scared to wander alone.

My home is wondering
And questioning and doubting,
Because I can settle in uncertainty,
But am a guest in the house of peace.

My home is searching,
Frantically inspecting,
A detective on the hunt
For evidence of love
As dust settles on all the clues
I have collected and ignored.

My home is my hands
That roam over the skin
And fat I see, feeling
The extra on me that
My eyes can't subtract and
My fingers can't pinch
Back into skinny.

My home is forgiveness
For others before I give
Myself the chance to notice
The damage, smoothing over
The surface like makeup
Applied to a wound.

My home is hiding,
Fleeing, dodging the possibilities
Offered to me that have
Potential to be more
Than participation awards, but
Victories, because in every win
There is a loser that
Could be me.
Down, down,
Do I drown?
I could float
I have the fat,
I could swim,
But to what?
There is no shore,
There is no boat,
Life is in the water
And death is down below,
Make what we can
Of this treading and dreading,
Some taking beautiful
Strokes all around,
Right now I'm floating.
But when do I drown?
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