South End Stew: Missed Opportunities

by Kayla Blau

Today Anna tried to puke up the cool whip she begged me for minutes earlier.

I listened attentively between the purges and felt the heavy behind them,

the type of hate that makes an 11-year-old

spend her coveted 30 minutes of computer time

googling “ways to get skinny quick.”

I see every billboard through her eyes

& when a parent says,

 “you can earn your allowance by every pound you lose,”

I can’t decipher if it’s in the voice of her mother

or my father.

I ask if she’s okay and she replies her body doesn’t like all this fatty food anymore,

that she just had to get it out of her.

Her sister eye rolls, “the calories are still in her tho”

How many chances have I had to interrupt this?

to spit in the male gaze

& instead,

encourage a chorus of

fuck your beauty norms,

fuck a diet,

& fuck anyone who equates a woman’s worth with numbers on a scale

But Anna’s still gagging in the bathroom,

door open, for now.

She goes, “you should tell housekeeping to clean that up”

and I say…

Featured image is a cc licensed photo attributed to Charlotte Astrid


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