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LIVING THIN


"Eat", she began, and dropped
two cubes of sugar into my tea.
Pushed pastry across the table.
Her own cup holding hot water and lemon,
she offered, "Do you know
that properties in tea
actually cut fat?"

I believed her.
This was a woman who counted
calories like aspirin,
taken one by one on an empty stomach.
She cut her meat into tiny squares; eliminated gristle.
"I'd eat with you," she complained,
"but I'm bloated." Held her
fishbone hips up for me to examine,
her midsection flat as Texas.

Sometimes I'd get up at night
hungry, try to raid her refrigerator,
a humming tomb
of seltzer, diet Shasta, celery
and a few slices of whole-wheat bread.
How do you make a celery sandwich?
Take two pieces of whole-wheat toast
and hold the celery between your bony knees.

  Jennifer Poteet


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