By Samuel A. Adeyemi

The workouts don’t work when you barely have
anything to eat. Two hundred & fifty abdominal
crunches a week. Silly boy, admit it. You like to

suffer. Ribs all around your sides. Caged like that.
This body, bone than body. Cathedral of tight skin.
Close-knit biology. I bend & the whole spine lifts,

rearranges. On some days, I am so small I could
live on a shiver, fit under my brother’s nail. A week
ago, I lost my favourite jacket. The days that came

after were cynical. In the mirrors I appeared, I’d
search, finger on glass, for a third skin. Sweater
of gristle. What I found—foil. My body, a desert

of living bones. Listen closely—a sandstorm
whispering in the joints. This wilt. This bullet-
shaped torso. I fear everything that embraces me

seeks to count up my twelfth rib. Notice how
skinny is less skin than skeleton. Even language
echoes the lithe, mocks it. Here I am, searching

for my body; fingers snaking around my temple,
my nape, my entire boring mold of matter. As if
I would arrive at the chest, pull out a new suit &

drape myself. Bloodless like that. Clean surgery.
Oh, to repair the flesh. To scalpel the skin into
vain grace. I fill myself with want, as if it would,

in turn, fill my rose-slender limbs. But I still ebb
& flow with the garden breeze. My lightweight,
my bone of silk. Wear your earrings around my

wrist & ask what to do with the dangle. Touch
my right leg & imagine a golf club forged to the
hip. This morning, a friend held me by the jaw.

Your cheeks look fuller, he said. & I liked that.
I liked it very much.

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