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Swells Jul 2018
It began with a break that wrenched
my heart, a red-bloom sack,
back into my hollowed chest--
a coffin that had been recycled
after a few good deaths.
I regrew two months in an old
cast on a regimen of self-love and
strawberry toast, reminiscing tales
of Venus and Rhiannon, who I
believed once ran ghostly white
through my veins and then exited
as newborn of my guise.  O body!
I regret the dust that had settled
in your stomach; the bones that couldn’t
even mold the blood was too dry;
the worth that looked leonine but
was serpent in the placid waters
and bartered with me to cross
where a noose was tied to my
name; the skin that twisted at the sight
of blighted bloated bones the hands
of scandal held tight.  
Gone, gone, gone were the days
before calamities rang in my ears
and tamed me submissive to a
garden that refused to flourish but,
rather, grew into itself to protect
the roots.
Shahd Mar 2018
A slip of the foot morphed into
an excruciating plummet into a void.
Before YOU know it, everyone else does
and you're bandaged up and tucked in bed

You've snowballed. It was out of your hands.
The word "Inpatient" echoes in your head
and you can't help but wonder:
"What did my parents say?"

There you are, still disoriented.
You're prospected expectations have
naturally become an escalated reality.

Now you're flooded with more
Diag-Nonsese and counterproductive
There-****-me spouts and handouts.

I didn't go down the road this time,
so how did I get here? Oh yes,
the ultimate phrase indeed "It's going to
get better, you just have to be patient."
Clare Margaret Jul 2017
Don’t ask me how I feel about food
because you’ll find yourself lost in stories
that glorify pathological eating patterns.
Yes, I am a loud-mouthed *******.
Yes, I will tell you
about the time all I ate on a Wednesday
was a single mustard packet
and you better believe I held the near-empty plastic sleeve
under my desk
ripped it open
and brought the splayed-out wrapper to my lips.

How about the Saturday night my roommate left
for her boyfriend’s house.
I waited for the sound of her car
pulling out of the driveway
then spent the next two hours
eating bowl after bowl of frosted cereal
and throwing them up one after another
until I couldn’t feel my jaw.
Clare Margaret Jul 2017
Breath in the madhouse
freezes in air like ice.
The drip drip drip
of life
turns inward like a hooked nose.
It is time for the melting,
it is time to have your own breath caught
and put away neatly like mugs in a cabinet,
away from the lips,
away from the throat
with its noble muscles.
It is time to be saved
from your own spent mouth
that bleeds ***** and lies, lies, lies.
Clare Margaret Jul 2017
I stare down my straw.
It’s floating in a cold beige soup
that I must drink
like some perverse mother’s milk.
Two table wardens pretend not to stare.
But they do stare
in quick flashes and sideways glares--
they’re supposed to be my mothers
teaching me how to get fat again.
The clock ticks forward
its hands make puncture wounds in my eyes
that mimic mouths.
I shift in my chair and my thighs slide
in my own anxious mess.
One warden opens her mouth to speak
but a cough comes out instead.
I do not take a sip
and the clock yawns.
I do not take a sip
and the clock gives up its patient dance and
the warden who coughed pours the contents of my glass
down the drain.
I ask if she could pour me out too--
*****-by *****.
She rolls her eyes at the spread of my thighs
that beg to be fed--
I do not drink.
Clare Margaret Jul 2017
Two anxious women sit across the table from each other
interrupted by two dishes of food,
two glasses of water,
and six utensils resting on paper napkins.
One thinks to herself,
“Is this sickness?”
the other,
“I am the sickest.”
The sick picks up her fork and licks the tines,
preparing it for a bite that will never arrive in her mouth.
The sickest folds her arms across her chest
and pushes her dish away with her eyes
and they sit in silence
with loud eyes and trembling hands
willing their fear to disappear.
Clare Margaret Jul 2017
I am living with eleven dead women--
rather, I am dead with eleven others
just like me.
Even the fat ones
are all snapped bone
and skin so thin you can see right through
to the blue veins.
Our skin, our veins, our bone
come from one mother,
monstrous and controlling.
We sit like puppets on strings
but at night we lie with death like animals.
Clare Margaret Jul 2017
Doctor Dearest,
when I ask you to drip sweetness into my veins
do not tell me that life looks better
with stuck-open eyes and *******.
I want to feel my arms light up with the anticipation
of release.

Do not prescribe me rest, I’ve had enough of that
to make an infant cry out in envy.
And anyway, my bed is stone
and my blanket is fire spun into thread.
Sleep does not tempt me unless
it is guaranteed.

Do not tell me to eat
or unfold your little pyramid,
a stack of sins that weigh on me
with the full force of an iron curse.
Food does not welcome me into its yellow-walled home--
it senses desire and punishes me.

Do not pull a magic pill out of your hundred dollar hat
and fold my fingers along its dusty edges
because I will crush it under my weight
and piece it back together with spittle-thread,
the glue of a starver’s refusal.

Do not promise me that time heals pain
when I’m not even an inch up this mountain.
My feet cannot balance on footholds
carved in mud,
and my hands were stolen
from a chest in my own ghost’s attic.
They haven’t been used in this lifetime.

Doctor, Sir, do not tell me that I am sweet enough
to tempt even the fullest stomachs
and the tallest men.
I know the taste of dirt
because it sours my tongue and scrapes my throat.
And I am tired, so tired
of digesting Earth
when I wasn’t meant to be fed.
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