tell the doctor

you sent me once
to a doctor–
gray room, gray hair,
gray eyes beneath the
sophisticated gray spectacles–
and you told him
there was something wrong with me.
his questions calm and psychologically
mundane almost
excited me, just thinking of
how much i'd changed
and was changing
and how much was still going to change.
how much had to,
because the loose skin was
growing impatient with me.

he told me i was fine, and you
breathed relief, smiling as we walked away,
his medically omnipotent affirmations the
single thread of faith you needed
to convince you otherwise.

until i started crying again on the way home.
you did too.

and it hurt, knowing
that when we got there there'd be no cold
grapefruit juice to cheer me up
or sharing in the chinese takeout leftover from
last night.
but the tears made me raw
and purple-blotched enough to make you
cry along, and somehow
that was all that mattered.

I'm just tired, i muttered to your eyes shifting between the paved road and the gashed-up me.
Tired of
I'm tired of no one listening.

i was fine,
the doctor said:I can see your concern, but
wait until she drops ten pounds below her ideal,
then we can call her sick.
Come back anytime, ma'am,
now that this case is open;
but know that she's a healthy one
better off than
oh, so many hopeless cases that i've seen.

he was right:
i got better,
after a few long bouts of
feeling my stomach rumble up into my chest
and hearing my heart slam in my ears
as i stood up too fast every morning,
my head clouded as
the exhausted soul that
couldn't find the happy medium.
and then the inevitable downfall,
the submission to taste
that always followed,
the instinct to cling to the flavor
that bursted and faded
for dear life,
til my stomach rolled out over the
denial-jeans on my hips,
my body screaming protest
and failure
and guilt.

but now it's better.

Your little face just keeps getting smaller and smaller every day,
you said.
we never went back to the doctor.

tell him that i
finally caught his disease
and i'd do it all over again
for someone to listen.
tell him that it's
just any day
now and the
grinning facade and the temporary happiness
zealously thanking godwill give way to the truth-
in-the-back-of-my-mind that waits and lurks for me:
that feeling that all my flaws are
weighing down and multiplying
and all i can do is close my eyes and wish them away,
watching my skin
return to looseness, the clumps of fat
on my cheeks unmeltable,
my last method of control
buried somewhere underneath.
tomorrow the cheerios will be shoveled
into my mouth so i don't make you
angry, and i will not
force my legs to move beneath me
in some vain attempt to make me feel beautiful:
there's not enough strength left,
i will see the spurts of blood that
i hate,
the evidence that i'm just as perfectly average
as anybody else-
and i'll cry
knowing that your happy medium doesn't exist
even though i said i was better

and felt like you were listening

tell the doctor
it's almost here,
and i'm already starting
again to want to fall asleep
and never wake up