A fat girl stands on the corner.
A fat girl stands on the corner,
the belt on her pants like a ring around Saturn,
encircling a planet that verges on detonation.
She is not invisible, even if she feels she is:
they are always aware when Fat Girl is there.
They are repulsed by the gormlessness,
the blatancy of gluttony, offended by
her shapeless arms and formless legs.
Fat girl, why’d you let yourself get like that?
They presume she smells like tallow in the fryer,
like brackish water and peeled onion; there is
an association between uncleanliness and girth,
an unspoken suspicion that a grainy layer of dirt is
secreted between each doughy roll of flesh
harbouring trace amounts of yeast, hints of soured milk.
Fat girl is without a face:
the throat, the nose, the mouth, are all
occupied territory, plump with enemy,
tiny explosions pulsing beneath the skin.
They don’t care. No one thinks she needs liberating:
Fat Girl welcomed the enemy in, and
licked her lips as she closed the door behind them.
They don’t know.
The fat girl balloons with bloated cells that hoard the pain,
each one absorbing the blunt force sneers, the
whispered words, the callow rejections, swelling
like rice in water, expanding and pushing at the skin
with no hope of retraction.
Every cell is pregnant with its own history:
A cell for the boy she adored who pulled his face
when she said hello.
A cell for a beloved dress that split as she
worked it over her body.
A cell for each solitary Saturday, each lonely lunch hour,
every clumsily recoiled glance and subsequent snicker.
Those cells, they gave birth to others.
Fat Girl moves slightly, and they all stop cold,
waiting for the earth to crack, wondering if
she might swallow them whole. Then,
with some relief, they see that she is
merely adjusting her position, shifting the weight,
settling back into the sadness slowly,
finding a way to live in it without provoking its anger.
Fat Girl looks down at the pavement, searching
for patterns and shiny bits; asphalt constellations
distract her from the universe she inhabits.
She has learned that losing her self in
the study of sidewalks and roadways
is like a gentle, weightless glide through space,
where all is quiet, where there are no eyes to enforce gravity.
She often wonders how round they would be
if cells craved cold indifference.