AMY LAUREN

An Angel Breathed Me

 

Staring into kitchen sinks, I think

of what it means to eat: fork’s one bite

trembling before my mouth, no more

laying flat as beaches but flowing

crests and troughs. The icy glass,

friend through months of cracking

teeth on what will not really fill,

hums disapproval from my counter.

 

Once home, my wife cooks oatmeal

and, full-bellied, we kayak the reservoir.

Sunsetting air overflows with croaks

of crickets and errant splashes of our oars.

Warmouths dimple water’s surface

as warblers chorus the widening ripples,

spring breezes thawing fears

from my throat,

 

lump that burned and begged me

not to swallow. Sickness was windless night

pressed against my ribs where I hid

my body’s secrets, but food pries open

flesh thrumming within. An angel

breathed me the will to swallow.

She might be mist warming my cheeks,

might be paddling next to me.

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Many femme LGBT people have struggled with body image and eating disorders. For that reason, I’ve written much about the subject, although there is still stigma and shame attached. Often, queer literature rightfully focuses on very sad subjects, so I’m also committed to writing about uplifting aspects of gay life. Although I lost three years of my life to a haze of hunger and pain, my wife displayed unconditional love through it all, so this poem testifies to the healing power of love in the midst of mental illness. As Hannah Gadsby mentioned in her special Nanette, stories connect us. It’s hard to discuss my past, but if even one woman reads my story and feels less alone, I’m happy to have told it.

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Amy Lauren is a lesbian poet who earned a Master of Music from Mississippi College. She authored the chapbooks Prodigal (Bottlecap Press) and God With Us (Headmistress Press), and lives in Florida with her wife. Read more of her work at www.amylaurenwrites.com.

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