seesaw

the hard wood seat splinters slightly on her calloused backside
as the red plank with flaking paint moves up and down
IT peers across the seesaw,
grinning, food suck between rotting teeth

“every time you go up, I win a little more
bit by bit, or shall I say
bite by bite?
you are mine. you know this will never stop,” IT snickers

your false wit is not appealing she says to herself

up and down
and again
and again

she knows it is the small or large things, one nibble or gulp here and there
harmless alone, devastating over time
the little lies IT whispers softly in her mind
making her think constantly about food, gnawing down her worth with every mouthful

IT knods “yes, you are getting it right now
you can’t resist the delcious poison, whale
food is your friendly enemy
you can’t just stop, it doesn’t work that way”

she tries none, she tries limiting, she tries in desperation to purge it… to exercise it away,
fuck me, she whispers

up and down
and again
and again

she sits up straight on the seat,
hoping to keep her belly and waist from touching her tightening shirt
breathing shallowly to not feel that material expand
knowing the size up would be much better anyway

“won’t matter, bubbles, if you sit better
it doesn’t change much and certainly not your body shape.
It giggles, your tightening skin and stretch marks are still here.
I’m not going anywhere and neither are the well-meaning chiding of others”

the bastards of well-meaning are not that, she whimpers, wanting to bury her body in the dirt out of sight

up and down
and again
and again

she fights back and promises herself to be stronger
to exercise
to watch was goes into her mouth
yet IT wiggles back into her brain again

“hurry and get that down, you have no time
eat it in the car
you need to sleep this AM and not the gym
you deserve chocolate and dessert…rough day all around, sweetheart” IT coos

she swears at herself, mouth watering at the prospect of sweets

up and down
and again
and again

sometimes she pushes off from thin back up into the sky, because it’s bound to happen anyway
sometimes she fights IT to stay down,
until the monster pounds from above and she relents
IT laughs on the descent,her repeated failure noted with an audience of onlookers

the jiggle of her stomach, breasts and upper arms
the teeter totter slamming up into the sky, her ass airborne again
she holds on for dear life,
blisters forming on her wide palms

she wonders what would happen if she just let go?
would the fall kill her?
would she be on her own?
leaving IT to slam back to the dirt?

“nothing,” IT says, “nothing will happen, my plump pumpkin”

and she pushes off into the sky, believing IT

seesaw

farmer

furrows plow across the surface
deep gashes opening up
tender, unprotected space.
the dull tool moving slowly over and over
until the furrow hits liquid irrigation
the marking stops
blood and skin piled up tight under fingernails
this row will not be for planting crops
the cutter finds this better than blades
always readily available
convenient, a fingertip away

as time passes
the wounds slowly close
among the weeds of infection
leaving trails of pink and purple
looking like an accidental scrape or burn patch
instead of revealing its true intention
of shame and hate

a shortened seasonal cycle creating
unassuming ridges and newly shaped ponds
daring another to understand this pain
knowing another fallow field
will soon be chosen again

farmer

showtime

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

they coaxed her shower off the days of stink
she did as they asked,a friendly suggestion to rid herself
dirt and shame down the drain

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

toweling off in front of the toilet
away from the long bathroom mirror, looking away from the glass at the floor
getting all her clothes on fast

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

she sees her shape faintly in peripheral vision
no glasses on as she brushes her teeth, watching water and paste run in spirals
puts on deodorant gazing at the ceiling

now to her hair
who cares if it is styled, she plans to stay in
she puts her chin down and turns on the dryer
don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it

she forces herself to think of other things
her love for green growing like
limes, Luna moths, fiddlehead ferns and granny smith apples

don’t look in the mirror
don’t do —

she catches her own eye in the reflection
in an instant, IT assesses her coldly
“fatter gut I see, what garbage did you put in your mouth today? that exercise won’t cover THAT
still wrinkles and scars, repulsive
never really a beauty, eh? face yourself, face the truth”

she looks away
the clean body now feels the shame of the unclean, damaged, broken
what’s the point? why spend the energy on this task?
to give IT a stage on which to shout at her?

when all she can chant in defense is
don’t look in the mirror
don’t do it
weakly from the balcony

 

and again

on my mind
for days
it won’t let go

i am alone today
i can get this done
i can stop it from being in my head
needling me
scorning me
hounding me
plaguing me
mocking me
chanting
broken record of chants
it will NOT stop

i give in
i know i might as well
this is the only way
i get the blades from their new hiding place
i know the routine
i know the ritual
but bigger letters this time
covering more skin

FAT
UNWANTED
IGNORED
A BOTHER
NO ONE

now i have unmatched matching legs
and ten words
in fresh red marks
and old purple scabs and scars
labeling me
judging me
describing me
telling me who i am
mocking my attempts to be better
showing anyone who looks
what i am

daring someone to take notice.

calm
trance
no more voice

blade thrown away, hidden
smeared red skin
clots running down the shower drain
no traces
only a fiery hot leg
with exactly 100 cuts
how ironic, 100

and again

for what it’s worth

a rag doll, dropped and forgotten, under a rusted fender on an oil stained driveway
one muddy tire track decorated her back from right to left

“There you are,” the little monster said and grabbed the doll’s leg
“Hiding in plain sight I see,” as IT dragged the her behind it’s strides

the doll, face down, rubbed roughly against the concrete sidewalk
her dress above her head, her white underwear stained by a muddy puddle splash

“Gross, look at your underwear!” IT chided.
“You are never clean,” shaking ITs head in mock sadness

no one saw when a button eye, threads finally giving way,as it rolled to the grass
the doll’s one eye watched as her other slowly faded from sight

“Can’t you see what you have done to yourself?”
“Don’t you know how ugly you are? Gross!”

IT crossed a road, tangling the doll’s head with cigarette butts, bits of litter and sticky chewed gum
“I wish you would take better care of your hair,” flicking a glance of distaste in the her direction

IT cut across a lawn where the big dog lived and dragged her though a fresh pile
When IT climbed the chain link fence, the doll’s an arm caught at the top

“Hurry up, we are late!” yelled IT, tugging her leg roughly.
The doll’s arm ripped at the seam and dropped to the big dog’s lawn, a new chew toy for later

“Now look what you’ve done, well, it’s your own fault for flailing your arms that way.”
IT kept moving, grinding grass and mud into her tattered clothes as her stuffing guts trailed behind.

The monster stopped and looked at the beaten rag doll
With one motion, shot a great arc, deposited it in the dumpster

“Two points!” IT cheered and walked on, “See, loser, you really don’t care about yourself, freak”
The rag doll looked up at a cloud passing, as it waited on top of plastic bags of rotten food

wondering what stink would bury her soon
to cover her shame

for what it's worth

rinse and repeat

stage is set with anger and hatred,
sneers and rage ready for a queue in the wings
she waits, knowing the play of cardinal sins is quickly approaching

she is shaking…the words said out loud to calm do not help
desperate attempts to stop the onslaught go unnoticed
vermilion horror dance begins again

she promises herself this is the last time
her body littered with purple and fading pink
would have flaming, sore fresh marks

“FAIL”
“FAT”
“USELESS”
“UGLY”
“GROSS”
“UNWANTED”
“BURDEN”

Tokyo red lipstick smears as
she tries to stop the flow, her hand to the wounds as they come
one after another…maybe it will clot soon

strikes of indifference and disgust continue
hidden from prying eyes of course, all a hemline away from discovery
she makes a point not to swim anymore, damage made is safe here.

a furious legacy redrawn over and over
she’s helpless to stop the vicious strokes to her torn flesh
battered body of crimes, using any handy tools of carnage

when the show is over, she watches red swirls
disappearing down the tub drain, shower water beating her body
carefully soaping stinging wound areas in order to “Keep it clean” as requested

cutter

rinse and repeat