you look at yourself in those mirrors on the walls of the bathrooms in the mall sideways now,
sucked-in cheeks, and I remember
that crop-top you bought, that crop-top, a scale for your chest and your waist, a promise
but you threw it out yesterday,
tag and all from the last eleven months because it took you a while,
a long chain of missed meals and feigned burps, to get there
and that cruel crop-top allowed, after eleven months of waiting and ‘controlling’,
allowed the moonlight to still dance with the new shiny stretch marks on your waist
the tag from the reject pile mocking you,
reflecting the number that you skipped ice-cream dates and pizza parties to save up,
to save up for this crop-top you dreamed you’d one day slay
what a shame, you invited the chain to choke you till you coughed your happiness away
every grumble in your stomach was a step away from this cage, a step towards ‘control’, a step full of pain, unimaginable pain, but
but, well, at least your jawline and your collarbones are now
nearly as sharp as the silver knife that offered you its company while you stared at your kitchen door with empty eyes
and turned your hollow torso away as it extended its warm, welcoming hand of friendship
with laboured ease
your fight wasn’t with your mum over the sugar in your cereal every breakfast every morning,
it wasn’t with your favourite cheesecake
you’re battling with your own body and your head,
they’re screaming as society triumphantly plays divide and rule and
you’re terrified and confused and just sit, crying, hoping
that the tears rolling down this little child’s cheeks will be enough
to shut both the sides up and have them retreat, or better,
just a child
fast forward four months, and hey, this is a weird feeling,
you’re seeing your ribs up close for the first time in your sixteen years of owning them
the lunch bell triiings in your nightmares every night and
you’ve now recognized that group of friends that doesn’t care about you enough to check what you’re eating,
whether you’re eating
maybe if you would just look at how your eyes become stars every time you smile,
you wouldn’t scold that little lock of hair beside your ear
for failing this once to cover up
the second little chin that makes an appearance every time
someone or something lights up your face
because your face lights up!
you are the sun.
look past, please, your stomach bulging over your belt,
and at the book that you bent over to pick up to give to the boy whose things those mean, mean girls and boys
knocked out of his arms,
look at his lips mouth thank you, thank you, you angel
your body, darling, is not you
those boys and girls, perhaps, whispered to your head to never be kind to you
but maybe you only need to be the beautiful, gorgeous person you are,
let your body feel as lucky to be your coat as you once felt unlucky to be its seed.
teach your body that it only encases the magic that is you
and has every reason to be so, so proud
you’re that many cubed centimetres more beautiful, concentrated.
There are ten million people in the city tonight
And one angel.
Plotting promises of good days to come
Where screams once painted sleepless nights.
“Everything will be okay, honey.”
“I won’t ever recover from this.”
Broken shards of glass
Still shine in the light.
Still can be picked up and
United to reflect the colours of your dearest dreams.
Don’t give up.
You have to win.
“Okay, I want to.
But isn’t zero worth more than a minus thousand?”
Every life is a pile of good things and bad things, he says.
The good things don’t always soften the bad,
But the bad things don’t spoil the good.
It isn’t a minus thousand.
It’s a hundred, and a minus five, and a seven, and a minus thirty.
Numbers are your friends.
Zero isn’t worth anything.
“I no longer believe that there exist good things.
I can’t think of any; there must not be any.”
If you stare at the sky long enough, he teaches,
You begin to see the stars.
“I see them now,” I realize, in awe.
He smiles at me until my smile is no longer under my own control.
The angel that lit up my life.