They’d Rather Be Ghosts

A Poem About Anorexia

Photo Cred — Aimee Vogelsang @ Unsplash

The disease isn’t just being skinny, you know.

It’s an emotional tourniquet squeezing the esophagus shut.

An addict shooting up the heroin of negative space.

24 hours gone, hollowness creeps slowly through veins.

Emptying bones.

Nothingness gets her high.

The nod follows evidence of reduction.

The opposite of growth brings the opposite of pain.


The logic brings comfort — like layers of blankets.

She’s never ever warm enough.

No meat, in or out.

Tendons and collar bones.

Emaciation tastes stringy, like celery and sadness.

Like a little girl afraid to eat her ice cream cone

because it will make her ugly and then she’ll be invisible and no one will see she’s in pain.

Patiently waiting for safety to arrive

Either death or liberation from the drive to disappear

An argument can be made that they are one and the same.

They are winners, skinny girls.

Army of sunken cheeks and hollow hips.

They beat you back with their step ladder spines. Stab you with their elbow sickles.

Taking arms against those who’d fight for them.

So many ghosts

who died on the hill of numbness.

They fear death and life.

Fear being seen and heard, while needing nothing more than to be seen and heard.

Fear the inability to shrink down to nothing.

Fear of occupying, not of being occupied.

They’d rather be ghosts.

Mama, writer, lover, fighter — I wear my heart on my sleeve because my pants pockets are too small.

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