I don’t know when it began,
this gnawing at the back of my mouth, bloodying my tongue
with words that spoke only
of how my body, the vessel of everything that is me,
was not good enough
for the rest of the world.
It haunted the silence after meals,
wriggling, worming its way deeper
until it lodged a solid nest
and grew so much that it took over my brain
with thoughts of
how many calories are in a slice
those deliciously rich cherry tarts.
It spurred my limbs to work overtime,
even when my muscles screamed
that they hadn’t had enough nutrition that day
to function at just a normal level.
I tired, unable to keep up
with its demands,
unable to know my own self.
But of course, the sleeping me
did not go unnoticed by the faces I knew.
They dragged the gnawing from me,
gave me ambrosia to wake me
and told me it was okay.
Yet they didn’t exorcise it completely.
It had made its mark,
and now lingers on eternally.