1. I am watching you get sick. The whites of your eyes are becoming yellow yolks; cheeks hang like grocery bags. You make diets of day planners. No time to eat with a stuffed calendar. Live off scheduled glamour. Meals are powdered hot chocolate packets. No marshmallows; just water. Breakfast is plain oatmeal. No milk; flavored with tap water. It is always raining. You swallow the storm.
2. To invite happiness inside him, Vincent Van Gogh drank paint of yellow hues. You do mad things for happiness, too. Vomit like an after school sport; casually, to pass time. Stomach acid erodes enamel. Your teeth blister. Bathe in sea salt to dehydrate water weight.
3. Eating disorders are very in. Like kale, like skinny jeans, like old Hollywood glamour- and don’t you dare bring up Marilyn Monroe. Recent studies show her frame was only one third of what you think.
4. Shrivel your stomach until it takes a single granola bar to feel full. Have NyQuil for a midnight snack. With pale pupils and unplugged irises, the only language you communicate in is numbers. You are a human recycling bin. Quit blaming your hometown and decomposing skin. If you’re not recovering, you are dying. There is no halfway when you’re overflowing from the inside. Drown your organs- they are already shipwrecked.
5. There was another girl in our grade who got sick about the same time you did, but she went to the hospital real quick because she was already thin to begin with. You see, when you’re thin, then get rapidly thinner, you have a problem. You need help.
6. You were not thin to begin with. You were fat, and now you’re evaporating, so everybody is congratulating you on getting “healthy.” You are not an illness, but an inspiration. Your father still carries your before-and-after photo in his wallet. Your disease is a smashing sensation.
7. Friend, I am so sorry. You too, are sick. Your messiah Kate Moss promises her physique is an achievable ambition, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”… Girl, she’s never had Nutella. Do not trust her, her two-faced dental care, or her fur pelt. Anorexics develop a hair all over to thaw their glacial bodies, called lanugo. The cold won’t let you go.
8. Veins bulging like a pop up book, I am watching you get sick. Mistake tracing paper for your skin. I am watching you get sick. When the blackouts start and your pulse gets slippery, wallpaper your interior with laxatives. I am watching you get sick. Read so much, your body insists it is full on authors, not high on hunger. I am watching you get sick.
9. One day, you will learn. The natural pigments will return- no more yellow skin, no blue fingernails, no scarlet scratch in your throat matching the raw nick on your middle finger. Make amends with the kitchen. Your face will glow like a television. You will get full again. Be able to finish a meal. You will become a writer. One day, I hope I’ll be able to finish this poem and say-
10. I am watching you heal. I am watching you get better.”
SHE DOESN’T NEED TO SEE THE MENU, by Blythe Bairdblythebrooklyn)