dr. worm

the respected
psychiatrist assumes
i’ve always been fat
thinks i’m only “like this”
‘cuz i’ve never
known the joy of
texting men angular collarbone selfies

i tell him i used to be thin

he licks his lips
pen poised
takes my history in lbs
hard
it seems
is this man’s favorite
type of data

he will meet me only once
so this department head doesn’t know
i learned the thrill of
pressing my flat belly
against boys in basements
and men in bars
how the sweetness of body
burned my tongue young

doesn’t know
how many found
my heart’s fontanelle
that spot of baby-soft bone
still open
came in
filled me up with their desire
left me wanting less

doesn’t know
nothing tastes as good as being nothing
being a fat woman is like being nothing
sometimes disappearing is
better than being a wanted thing

he doesn’t know i did this on purpose
sick of saying no thank you
over and over and over
and maybe i should tell him
but maybe he should already know

the psychiatrist puts down his pen
pleased
as if he’s solved a tricky sudoku

when he tells me i wouldn’t be depressed if i lost weight
what i hear worming its way through his words
is the belief that if
men
in general
as a societal unit
might want to fuck me
at least i’d have something to live for

in the pause while the doctor waits for me to
nod and say thank you
i consider the satisfaction of slapping the clipboard
off his be-khaki’d knees
i consider what i could explain in our 8 remaining minutes
and if i owe it to anyone to try
i consider how it would feel to have this stranger
know my secrets
and dismiss them

i want to say:
the only thing fatness
has ever given me is to make
me feel a little safer
from men like you

i want him to hear
it had been working

Catherine Weiss is a poet based in western MA. She has been published in places like Yellow Chair Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, Jersey Devil Press, and Voicemail Poems. She enjoys participating in slam poetry competitions but not nearly as much as she likes already having won them.

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