a box for a body

By: Isobel Li

and so the ideal takes form
shaped by what we think,
by the way we allow ourselves to think

she was three years my senior
when she told me about her calorie deficit
an effort at pre-prom weight loss
orchestrated by a diet of green tea and boiled eggs,
workouts in the earliest hours of the morning

i watched her energy wane like a crescent moon
while she measured progress with her mirror

and in her wrongful conflation of size and beauty
i learned how much hurt a body can carry

and how we make ourselves fit the things we aren’t