My grandma reminded me that I’ve gained weight
As a way of expressing her admiration.
You see, in her country the more you weigh
The lighter your disposition—
The less it seems that you are burdened with
I wasn’t hurt by her words,
And I took them lovingly with a squeeze to her palm.
But I retreated to be bedroom for reminiscing and rummaging
Through old food diaries and counted calories—
Deprived days and rich ones filled with protruding bones
And sleepless nights.
Starving does this thing to you where you forget the beginning and the end—
Progress is infinite. Minutes become longer. And you are given the opportunity to feel present
Although I live more presently when my stomach is empty,
I don’t feel alive;
I am a ghost; light as a kite; transparent.
On my starving days and starving nights
I carve out a hollow within my soul
To wrap myself in when the world becomes too cold.
-An excerpt from Porridge: A Memoir
A memoir about life after death, and a little girl who nearly lost her life after her father lost his.