by Katherine Brennan

If I pare myself down

whittle myself away

until there are only bones

my sharp and beautiful bones
if I count those bones


in an attitude that recalls prayer

if I worship them

for the flesh they do not carry


these bones

my hidden allies, my difference
they sing to me from beneath this heavy flesh


if I break this bread

into one hundred bites

and eat only half of those


if my body disappears cell by cell

and I am left a hollow husk

so thin I cast no shadow


as I float dizzily,

among the dying angels

we shiver and ache

at the remembered taste of food on the tongue

we drift between the bodies of the others

so solid, so heavy they are

so terrifying


we preen

our bodies no more than fragile cobwebs

and cast green-eyed looks at any

whose bones poke more pointedly

against the surface of the skin

and we are lost and we are cold and we are so afraid


if I feast on water

shedding something

becoming nothing

a rattling skeleton with my death head grin


if I weigh less than air:

then I will be perfect


— for E


This poem was written in response to a young acquaintance’s sudden and rapid descent into anorexia. Thankfully, through the loving support of her parents, she recovered and is living a rich and robust life.

Journal, Volume 2 Issue 3