We begin the day
by taking off all of our clothes
so that we can be weighed.
(When I’m having my period,
they let me keep my underwear
as a flimsy sort of protection.)
As we wait for the meal to be ready,
we say our prayers.
“I feel like I’m having a heart attack.”
“Today, I will be 100% meal plan compliant.”
“If they make me go in there, I’ll go nuts.”
I don’t say anything because
I’ve already become a corpse today,
and those don’t talk.
The doors open, and the prayers cease.
It’s time for worship.
The food on my plate
is an offering, an investment,
a test. It was created just for me.
I don’t know by who; I just know that when
we walk into the dining room, our plates are waiting for us.
The other initiates and I play our favorite game:
who will be the most devout? Who will avoid eating
as long as possible?
My petinence was decided for me Monday:
1fat1fruit1protein1grain (for breakfast)
2fat1protein3grain (for lunch)
2fat2protein2grain1vegeteable (for dinner)
and 1protein1fat (for each of the three snacks).
We have 30 minutes for services, but I finish at fifteen.
They tell me to leave if I’m not going to continue to better myself.
I leave, my hunger a holy symbol.
Before lunch, they ask me if I want to help the staff make my food.
My therapist tells me that it will make me feel “in control.”
But I don’t want to see all the fatfruitproteingrain
that goes into my meal.
I would rather blindly follow
their faith than become a convert myself.
Hannah Rousselot is a queer DC based poet. She has been writing poetry since she could hold a pencil and has always used poems as a way to get in touch with her emotions. She writes poetry about the wounds that are still open, but healing, since her childhood and the death of her first love. Her work has appeared in Voices and Visions magazine, PanoplyZine, and Parentheses Magazine. In addition to writing poetry, Hannah Rousselot is also an elementary school teacher. She teaches a poetry unit every January, and nothing brings her more joy than seeing the amazing poems that children can create.