I started hating you at 7 years
and for far too many
obsessed over breaking you.
I hadn’t yet learned my multiplication tables
when the lady at the doctor’s office taught me
the equation of big plus girl equals
destroy, destroy, destroy.
The limit does not exist.
It’s hard to forget mathematics like that.
It reads too much like law, like justification
for why I grew up pinching at my sides,
aching to shrink, skipping birthday parties
because how can you celebrate anything
when you’re too busy being too much?
There was nothing more delicious to me
than the idea of invisibility.
Of being more subtraction, each cursed calorie
a casualty of a war waged between skin and bone.
Of being something like an empty vessel, hollow,
fingernails so sky-blue you’d think I was evaporating.
It didn’t take long until I had numbered all my bones.
At 19 I am still learning how to adore
being someone who is more multiplication
than anything else.
Someone who can eat.
And not just eat, but taste,
and not consider the numbers lurking
behind all of the sugar, but really taste
the sweetness of knowing the limit does not exist
when you love a body, when you love your own body
and you can go to those birthday parties and not think
about the way your legs touch when you dance—
You just dance.
And it’s like you’re 7 again,
but this time the equation is
body plus love equals
preserve, preserve, preserve.