Let’s Talk About Fat

By Susan Anmuth

PROMPT — If only ...

I want to not be fat.

But I want to not be restricted

and obsessed

and deprived

and guilty

and ashamed

about food any

more.


What if the hours I’ve consumed

with diets, food plans, new bright starts,

still missing the mud pie at Henry’s End

in Brooklyn Heights

that no one would order so I couldn’t have a bite without getting

my own and I disciplinately didn’t,

four decades ago,

were applied instead to

curing cancer or

discovering a new color or

staring blankly

at the wall (still a better use of time)?


What if I could let slide the narrow, bourgeois model of female beauty

and truly not hate my upper arms?


Here I am mobile

When people like my ex-husband get strokes and cancer and die.

Here I am still working, and fighting to unionize Super Store,

Never dreaming of

retiring from revolution.


Here I am checking no boxes during the annual physical:

blood pressure,

kidney,

heart,

all the things that can go wrong,

owning a reproductive system that no longer works

but isn’t built to work when

you’re 70

so in that sense works.


I desperately want to not care or, better,

appreciate the body I live in with my

gravity-driven boobs

and jowly jowls

and the big ass I’ve had all along.


You need a support community to be strong against isms:

Racism

Sexism

Homophobia

Anti-transgenderism

Discrimination against people with disabilities

In the case of fat,

to de-internalize all the ads in all the magazines

and all the TV shows

and all the movies and please gods.

All the magic bullet solutions which siren

me every time I open my PC.


Even the fat good actors, like Melissa McCarthy and John Goodman

get thin,

Except for Tony Soprano and he died.

Gandolfino I mean. Probably Tony too but

David Chase remains coy.

Susan Anmuth lives with her son, Yorkie, and cat in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ, an area with many ethnic supermarkets and coffee shops.