Elizabeth Whittlesey

All day I have been sitting around
waiting to be thin.

There was a time I was more or less pure.
I still am.

I wake and it is a lie, the man who loved me that much.
I wake and it is a lie, the man who loved me that little.

Just because I’m not the woman who fell asleep hunched over
the bench clutching a violin case and a hotdog wrapped in tinfoil

does not mean I don’t need a few nights
to be a bigger, more-forgettable version of myself.

I do not feel I can judge the cockroach in my bathroom
living off of toothpaste shards and flaked skin—

I, too, have done many ugly things to survive.
And I hate to whine, I hate to be one of those people,

but tonight the appliances on my floor look ominous
with their cords spiraling into the wall,

and lately I keep falling in love
with everybody else’s world but my own.

I bought some green shoes one size too small
and have been wearing them around all month,

because I always like to keep the company
of my mistakes for some time—

because we all have different ways
of becoming the formidable hostess.