misshepeshu: (Default)
[personal profile] misshepeshu
(Disclaimer: Not autobiographical, though I've known a few people with eating disorders, and the protagonist is an amalgam of two in particular. What I'm posting here is an exercise I wrote in poetry class that I wanted to share.)

She eats a cup of unflavored fat-free yogurt, her second and last meal of the day. Each meal is a sacrament, requiring its own sacramental rituals. For yogurt, there is first the slow downward swoop of the spoon, bowl side down, and then a gentle skim along the top. The convex surface gathers a layer of creaminess as ardently and as carefully as a pilgrim kissing a dead saint’s foot. As she lifts the spoon, the tip of her tongue reaches out, the head of a blind slug yearning for contact. The tang of the yogurt sends an electric buzz through her tastebuds. She licks the spoon clean in one thorough catlike swipe, and then it’s back again to the beginning.

On good days, she is able to extend the meal to half an hour, or one hundred careful swipes of her tongue.

She views herself as kindred to the nuns who have renounced the earthly world in favor of a life dedicated to the spirit. She, too, has renounced the folly of flesh, but her God is a God of bones. He is a God of hollows. Most of all, he is a God of numbers. The number of calories she shuttles into her body. The numbers on a bathroom scale ticking downwards, always downwards. The number of times she can lick the spoon before she empties the container. Her grandmother used to tell her, “You value beauty more than your life,” but this is what her grandmother never understood: beauty is life. She is a sculptor, carving away all unnecessary flesh, all of which she offers to her God like Abraham binding Isaac on the mountain.
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