I’ve always been a bit squeamish.
When I was younger I didn’t like the way my ribs
Jutted out over my stomach.
Of course,
Now I know that I would – should – suffer that
In exchange for being able to see my feet when I lie down.
My body is at that uncomfortable stage
In which I’m not skinny enough to make myself feel sick
And grace magazine covers
And not fat enough to be fetishized.
I’m proud of my breasts,
Because I’ve been told they are my ‘best feature’
But that makes me feel poultry.
There is no happy medium
Only the boring middle
And even then I’m only the mean of the abstract BMI,
Not actually the sum of the whole of my female friends divided by the number
Which is eight, if you’re interested.
And I am far from a size 8
Sometimes I struggle to stuff my body into the clothes that should be my size.
I feel like a slab of meat on a deli counter
Not beef or venison or of much worth
Just ‘good, cheap rump’ ‘strong legs, lots of fat’
And dry, white breast.
I always feel ill when I walk past the deli in Sainsbury’s
And I’m not sure now whether it is the squeamishness of my youth
Or something beyond that.
A sort of aching sympathy with something that, too, is bred for man’s pleasure.


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