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jrlewis's picture

The first time

My mom told me I was fat

Was freshman year of high school.

She clarified,

I weighed as much as my six-foot-tall father.


She stocked the house with diet cola.

She said, “ten pounds would be easy to lose.” 

Which wasn’t right…

My father was wasting away, a neurodegenerative disease.

My mother baked chocolate chip cookies twice a week

For my father.  After school, I stopped at the supermarket.

Then she said to me, “twenty pounds are doable with a teenage metabolism.”

The doctor prescribed my father chocolate ice cream at every hospital meal.


When I was a senior,

My arm measured the same circumference

As my father’s thighs.  I hate that fat and bulky muscle on my arms. 

What is so smart about lifting dumbbells? 

My father is dead. 


All I can think

When I look at my boyfriend’s nakedness is

That he’s impossibly skinny...  


alesnick's picture

strong poem

I appreciate your posting this intense poem.  I am struck by the way you braid the stories of the speaker-mother exchanges and the father's decline and death.  The way time passes in the poem is fascinating and the speed of it is striking.  Thanks for writing this.