Round

My last name means “round,” it literally means “round,” and
usually what I say is
ha ha my ancestors clearly really loved pasta
and sometimes I pat my behind
with a proud little sort of a pat
and then sometimes I wink, or get close to winking
and then I grin
and then we move on to something else
and that’s it, it’s over, it’s over for now.

If I wear everything a size or five too big
if I grow my hair down to my waist
if I hold my poetry notebook over my
chest
and over my
belly
if I am very loud
and very silly
and very interested in your very interesting story
you won’t see I’m fat

Are you sure?
Yes, you want to go down a size on that
But it’s
Yes try the extra small, let me get that for you
But I’m
Just see what it looks like on, with a boob tube you want to make sure it’s going to stay up when you’re
out dancing
Thirty bucks, in the bag, and on up the coast of Australia
Wearing my boob tube
Size extra small, age thirty-two
Out dancing
Boys (and girls) fluttering to me like moths
For the first and maybe the last time.

I’m really concerned about your eating
I just want you to be healthy
It bothers me that you eat the way you do
I don’t know if I can be with someone who doesn’t respect her body
All you have to do is burn more calories than you consume, you see
It’s really that easy

Sitting on the bed, writing out my food for the week,
Crying real tears
Because I couldn’t make the math work out
A fridge full of food downstairs
And all the money spent to be told what not to eat.

You don’t have to show your belly, said my teacher, but it helps
because
you can really see what’s going on that way.

There are a lot of us, I told her, sitting on her bed as she
packed her bags for a week’s trip with her lovely new boyfriend.
She had a gorgeous new dress that went perfectly with her favorite heels that make her legs look amazing.
Good color for her, a bit girlier than usual. Clingy but not too clingy.
She said she was afraid to wear it.
“When you look at me do you think ‘She shouldn’t be wearing that?’”

There are a lot of funny fat girls, who can’t believe that
anyone could be attracted to us
Who keep telling other fat girls that they’re beautiful and gorgeous but don’t think it applies to them personally,
but who really do think those other girls look great.
Who seek out the attention they don’t want but kind of do want, who are very entertaining when they want to be
and who know a lot more about you than you know about them, who are very good listeners and very good kissers, who are a little too grateful for the compliments they will distrust you for giving them (what could you be thinking?), and who are never surprised when you leave them for other, better, thinner women.

I would have never guessed that you struggled with this stuff, I told her, adjusting the ruffles on her shoulders. The heels, the heels, definitely bring the heels.
I wouldn’t have guessed you did either, she said, and there we were, an afterschool special at nine o’clock on a Thursday night, thinking those thoughts again and again, round and round and round.

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11 comments

  1. I don’t have adequate words to described how much that affected me.
    “Amazing” will have to suffice.

  2. Oh, yes. Just, yes.

  3. You took that right out of my head. Wow.

  4. I love you.

  5. The 8th stanza (paragraph?) made me cry. I have to go send all my friends here, right now.

  6. Speaking from experience here, my girlfriend always seems kind of suprised that I think she’s lovely – and seems to find it hard to accept the genuine and heartfelt complements I give her…

  7. You are so beautiful, inside and out, brain & body! Thank you for writing this.

  8. Chiara, you are my favoritest.
    :*

  9. Do you mind if I share/link to this over at Shapely Prose?

  10. Absolutely beautiful.