Dear body, thank you for surviving me

I find detox tea in the back of my mother’s cabinet

& suddenly we are both teenage girls

comparing waistlines in the bathroom mirror

my mother – hard from the years, yoga pants 5 days out of the week,

who doesn’t believe for one second in all that

“beauty advertising propaganda”

is suddenly soft

is insecure

I find detox tea in the back of my mother’s cabinet

& I am fifteen again

throwing up after dinner

sometimes real life is too human for poems

& I am only now learning to take up space

I say I am healed now

because my dinner no longer looks like numbers

like regret

but the truth is I still lift my shirt in the bathroom sometimes

enamored by my own smallness (on the good days)

there are moments that my worth lies

in the flatness of my stomach

They say that it is harder to recover

from an eating disorder than a drug addiction

that this willful hunger will take half of its victims

to their graves

Yesterday in an empty subway cart

I saw a woman spread out across three seats

& I think of how different we are.

It’s like that, I think

when you are used to being made smaller

you stay small even when there is room.

Today I am growing

& I mean that is every sense.

I can look in the bathroom

& see only a bathroom

not another way to lose the calories.

I can look at fat

& see all the ways I have chosen to love myself

rather than a reason not to.

There are the days I stand in front of a mirror

& count all the ways I could shrink

& then there are the days I see

the closed up scars

& the stretch marks

& all the ways I tried to die but didn’t

There are days I look at my body

& see only healing

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