May 28, 2024 Poetry

The Summer I Stopped Eating

The Summer I Stopped Eating Artwork by Schmetterling

Peeling oranges with our eyes closed, on a rooftop lidded with stars 
Moon scrapes away a crescent of the sky and we cut away pounds of 
Our flesh with pink safety scissors, sedated on morphine this is our first 
Meal in weeks, as we raise our own sick flesh to trembling lips after 
Letting the numbed prayer flow from sultry mouths caked with lipstick
We feast on the anguish of our figure, limp from starvation disguised as 
A diet, swapping sandwiches for cigarettes and growing thin on nicotine 
Until our mothers nod in our vague direction, mumbling ‘you look ill’ 
In between glasses of chardonnay mixed with vodka and cough syrup 
Lounging in easy chairs with velvet hearts that tremble beneath fingertips 
Etched from glass, opaque cheek pressed against a curling fist we write 
Manifestos in our blood and sign with imprints of kisses, smearing cheap 
Gloss onto post it notes and now our palms are greasy with our meat 
Mouths chewing the excess fat that still clings to our bones, spitting it 
Out and laughing with crooked teeth rimmed red and tongue heavy. 

Later we listen to Arabella and draw crude stars on with sharpie, down on 
Two bruised knees before a statuette of Virgin Mary we are spellbound 
With starvation, hypnotised by empty stomach ache and regurgitation 
Eyes red from weeping, blue gowns stained with vomit as our fleshless
Legs snap and slip down chip shop streets and the rugby fields we lost 
Our virginity in, we are dying slowly, our cells withering and skin yellowing
At the edges, flimsy tissue cloaking paper mâché bones. 

Someday, I will witness your resurrection and you will catch snatches of 
Mine on the front page of the Sun, brazen headline tailing a girl so fragile 
When the paramedics scoop her up she splinters into a thousand segments 
And when they glue me back together I’ll only be half a woman, my eyes
Will hold truths too beautiful to utter, my mouth will be slack and my 
Mother will say ‘you’ll be fine’ as she ignores the untouched plates and 
Waning figure, until the next time I shatter in the back of the ambulance 
It will be too late, and I’ll remember that time we peeled oranges with our 
Eyes closed, carving away our flesh until my toothless mouth weakly curling 
Into a half-sunken smile
Closes and the