When I was 13 I read Seventeen
like it was the Bible and Ann Shoket
was Jesus reincarnated, dressed my fruit-salad
shaped apple-pear-orange under-ripened
body like it told me to because I wanted
to define my flat-chested, heavy-hipped,
not-skinny-girl body like I was supposed to.
And when I was 13 I ate the word “skinny”
for breakfast like a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios
in spoiled milk, sobbed when I had to wear shorts
to baton practice because that’s where the skinny
girls were and I was never a skinny girl.
And when I was 13 I made Mom cry
because I said I hated myself; pinched
my belly and poked my stretch marks
until she threatened to duct-tape my hands.
Only skinny girls were supposed to love
themselves, and when I was 22 I sold
my virginity to a man who grabbed my thighs
and my breasts like pulling apart a chicken
for dinner because I thought
good sex was only for skinny girls.
— Deidra Balchak
Belle Vernon native Deidra Balchak is a recent graduate of Carlow University, earning a BS in biology. Her work has been published in the most recent edition of Carlow University’s literary and art journal The Critical Point. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.