When I Decided I Could Never Be Beautiful
by Stephanie Valente

why are you so small? they said
with your bones and skinny flesh
i don't know, she said.
::
if my bones were narrower, jutting at
the hips, i thought
studying her like a mirror
silver and glass, i could sink this in

i thought of things the way doctors do
it's a shame, but so pretty
i crack my thin wrists
looking at pictures in an office
cheap hotel paintings

they remind me of, the walls
where i stained your fingerprints
looking up at the ceiling,
averting my eyes to the walls

and catching sickly sweet images
not good enough for a gallery
meant for the trash can, someone saved it once,

and i think of you
on top of me
i wish these hips of mine were
smaller, sleeker
if i was a new model

i want my stomach to sink
i grab the sheets
i grab you and i hold my breath
for a second.


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