tiffany, do you still dream of numbers?
fluorescent digits, totalling like a cash register
your mind a mathematician’s notebook, your body an oblique asymptote
waking to find the equation still has not been solved

lily, I know what it’s like
to want to slice away parts of yourself like butter
breathe easier with every notch you tighten on that belt
it is only pretty to eat when you look like you don’t

i tell zoe bathroom scales aren’t meant to be one-way streets
but in this narrowed path she’s forced herself down
there’s not enough space for reason
there’s not enough space for her ribcage to make a 180

and now nicole’s body is so on edge
flesh skirting bones nervously, afraid to settle
nails brittle with stress at breaking point
sleeps at night with one finger down her throat

yesterday alison ate insecurity for breakfast, measured with instagram comments
for lunch, anxiousness; dinner, obsession
and for dessert (something bittersweet), nostalgia
hunger always has had a silver lining for her


somewhere, there is a little girl
sticky chocolate lipstick, marshmallow cheek implants
who eats a slice of cake, and
cries when her mother says she cannot have another

this is when she knows she has a body
knows image is a fancy word for ‘picture’
but doesn’t understand these words can fit together
and my god, how happy she is, how beautiful

33 thoughts on “skeletons

    • Heartbeatingwings says:

      Thanks for this Penny! I wrote this because while not all of us have suffered from anorexia, I think it is safe to say that almost all of us have at some point been uncomfortable with our bodies for one reason or another, and I think it’s important to address that.
      Also, thanks for the link – I believe I might actually have seen this blog before – it’s amazing, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Neha Sharma says:

    This is so beautifully written that I feel overwhelmed. I loved how the overall poem really guided me till it culminated at ‘this is when she knows she has a body..’. Thank you for writing this!

    Liked by 1 person

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