Snapshots People Took of My Eating Disorder

Alexis Bates


Shutter click!


Every day                   children           pulled out

snack               I watch



            raced heart

savored every moment


Shutter click!


The people                  around me ignored my

       chocolate milk                             I would sip it

      then toss the     carton away


Shutter click!


            she laughed                             reminded

the class          nobody should be bringing food into the classroom

                       showcasing to everyone that I was                            I was a

cautionary tale


Shutter click!


            The first boy                          told his friends I was

too skinny. Determined                                I filled

            My stomach                                     confessing


Shutter click!


                       I like to admit

                                  strangers stopped me

I felt                           entitled

                                             to being perfect


Shutter click!


I continued to eat

Everybody else           snickered,

You sure do eat

                       My overconsumption of food would have been

Endearing. If I had been younger,

judgmental whispers

                                  told me I was getting fat.


            harsh until



Shutter click!


            People                        felt proud of me


                       she began

            I let myself grow as

                                             nobody                       but my mother

                                                        to impress


Shutter click!


I           mastered                                           feminine. I

tell                   men

I binged on                 


                                  disappearing collarbones


Shutter click!


I wondered what

            was proud.

As summer gave way                                    my mother took me to

Her bathroom                                                          Eager to


I                      lost                              


            to get

                       the attention of strangers



Alexis Bates is an emerging poet and writer that forces people to reflect on how they relate to topics such as self-perception and mental illness. You can read her work in Doll Hospital, The Passed Note, Rising Phoenix Review and elsewhere. She has chapbooks forthcoming from Varsity Goth Press, Luminosity Press (an imprint of Firefly Magazine), and Ghost City Press.