Full (and Upright)

I once spent a twenty-two

hour flight with my hands under my ass.

It was too bony, and I

was too starved to stand the pain

of pelvis on hard airplane seats.

Back then, I was hungry

to disappear—just a few

less bites and Ta da!

I’m all gone. There were times

I was happy

I got no arm rests (what

does such a skinny thing need

all that space for?). You get any thinner,

you’ll disappear, said the lipsticked attendant.

And I smiled. Anoretics, we don’t

start out trying to kill ourselves.

But that’s what it becomes—

and it’s a slow death. A painful one, all

heart attacks and broken hips. Disappearing,

it’s not easy. You know? But that desire

to not be seen, to waft down the aisles like a ghost,

it’s strong. And we’re strong, you thin

it’s nothing to keep our lips closed?

We’re hungry all the time. Until we’re not,

until we’re not hosting the disappearing

act, we’re the unwitting audience member

clawing at the magician’s box as the saw

chews closer. Now, I want to be seen. Take

up space, elbow into every inch

of that overpriced seat I put on credit

and not give a damn if I eat

every mediocre plate that trolleys by.

–Jessica Mehta

Jessica is the author of The Last Exotic Petting Zoo (nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) and What Makes an Always published by Tayen Lane Publishing. She is the founder of MehtaFor, a writing company which serves a variety of clients including Fortune 500 enterprises and major media outlets. She’s a member of the Cherokee Nation and founded the Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund in 2013 for Native students pursuing an advanced degree in writing. Find out more about Jessica on Facebook.

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