no. 6, The Fat Issue
Freedom Song No. 28
Frequently Asked Questions
have you lost weight? i have lost nights to the thunder call of a dance floor, the DJ my own suckling muse, my breath heavy, my thigh dripping with a cool lover’s sweat. i should exercise my rights or some rigor, here. i have lost my online banking password. i have lost the cab-catching arithmetic. i have lost the inevitable — my sagittarean patience. i have lost sisters to the hollow of a masculine fragility. i have lost my voice on a linoleum floor. in them tiny hospital chapels, my body expanding across vinyl pews, my face swollen a body or a death sentence a body or a death sentence a body or searching for a holy that won’t hurt us. i may have lost the point — if i look good, it is because i am. if i look good, well, grief does wonders for the skin. in my death sentence body i still believe i know joy. in one version of the world, i live as a fraction of myself, slender and compliant. the doctors hold my hand, treat my pain as my pain. in another version, i humanize my body by playing fractions — slivers of fat cut from me with machetes at dusk. damn that world. i have lost the ability to be brave, strong, courageous, wise, inspirational, or whatever keeps skinny bitches from killing me. i have lost my shame — i eat in public and don’t hide the food with my hands. i laugh into my chest, stacking my chins like little fleshy poems. i have lost count of how many times i have apologized for the space i take up. now, i’m done with sorrows and sorrys. i have killed the human in me and gone on the run. i have lost the ability to play coy. i’ve lost ideation’s affection, thank god i am still breathing. healing isn't linearhealing isn't linearhealing isn't linear i lose count of the orgasms, the cheap thrill of whiskey, the slutty touch of satin on my skin. so much to gain from gluttony — every universe at my mouth, spread open like an oyster or a blade. i have lost my interest. i have lost the cares to give. i have put down the white gaze. it was such a heavy thing. i have forgiven my own weight so many times, i lost track. i have lost a desire to forgive you, too. fine. if one of us must die, i choose you. i choose you. i choose you. i weigh three hundred books, stacked by the spine, and i add another one each day. i’ve gained a whole world — complex, and so fat.
Aurielle Marie is an award-winning poet, essayist, and cultural strategist. They are a Black queer storyteller, a political organizer, and child of the Deep South by way of Atlanta. Their poetry debut, Gumbo Ya Ya, won the 2020 Cave Canem prize and is a Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Thanks to Barter Member Shinjini Dey for proofreading this piece!