Friday, February 6, 2009


I know I already shared a poem in class, but I wanted to post this one too. It's one of those poems that I haven't been able to completely get out of my head since I first read it. I think it's an honest and accurate depiction not only of an eating disorder but of restriction and pressure in general.

by Eavan Boland

Flesh is heretic.
My body is a witch.
I am burning it.

Yes I am torching
her curves and paps and wiles.
They scorch in my self denials.

How she meshed my head
in the half-truths
of her fevers

till I renounced
milk and honey
and the taste of lunch.

I vomited
her hungers.
Now the bitch is burning.

I am starved and curveless.
I am skin and bone.
She has learned her lesson.

Thin as a rib
I turn in sleep.
My dreams probe

a claustrophobia
a sensuous enclosure.
How warm it was and wide

once by a warm drum,
once by the song of his breath
and in his sleeping side.

Only a little more,
only a few more days
sinless, foodless,

I will slip
back into him again
as if I had never been away.

Caged so
I will grow
angular and holy

past pain,
keeping his heart
such company

as will make me forget
in a small space
the fall

into forked dark,
into python needs
heaving to hips and breasts
and lips and heat
and sweat and fat and greed.

The imagery in this poem is fantastic. The raw intensity just fills your mind and you're made uncomfortable, not only with the images, but with the notions of flesh, vulnerability, sex, food, comfort, dreaming, desires, etc etc. I can honestly say I've never felt about a poem like I've felt about this one.


  1. It is intense, and the terse triplets give it a pulse that's slightly manic. "python needs" is cool...

  2. I read this the other day as I was rushing out of the office for a meeting...and at the time I found it moving, and chilling. The images wouldn't leave me alone. I feel like you that it has so much in much comment about our bodies and our selves, and about the destructive nature of self hating/self judging.