I live

CLOSE your mouth!”
I stop smiling. I accept that the gap in my teeth ruins our family photo.
It has always been my fault. When I was younger I was terrified and
Did not tell my parents another tooth had gone loose.
Over time the adult tooth grew in anyway, Pushing itself into life.
But growing UP, angled, slanted towards the roof of my mouth.
Giving my smile the semblance of a gap, a fake imperfection,
Significant enough to matter more than my smile itself.

 “Look at that gut! How it folds over your seatbelt…
whos going to marry you, looking like that?”
She pokes my belly with a sharp finger. The pain means nothing.
I am almost completely numb at this point.
I believe her when she beats her reality into me.

“mmm… no thanks! I prefer keeping it up!”
The woman in the seat next to me on a tiny Spirit Airlines plane
Forces the cleaving arm rest back down.   She says “no thanks” as if
my polite request was for HER benefit.  She looks mildly nauseated.
My mother was right, I think.  
Fatness is disgusting and perhaps a contagious disease.

“There are worse things to have than fat rolls.”
I post this as a caption under an Instagram picture.
I am posing with my back to the camera,
Wearing a pair of black panties and my pride. My body looks soft, and shines,
And is not at all a crime.
“I live!” a friend comments.
As do I.


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