Mayhem Literary Journal is generously sponsored for 2019 by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato

Eight ways to look at a fat little girl - Gaia Church

Strawberry cheeks, thick legs,
Wide belly, strong heart.
Second serving, dark glances,
Moment on the lips.
Lifetimes on the hips.

Madam Mim.
Queen of Hearts.
A realisation that 
good voices 
don’t spawn
from wide bodies and wiggly chins.

PE changing room.
Whispers behind pimpled cheeks
with valleys between their hipbones,
Archway armpits,
Wishbone thighs.
But her:
Mountainous stomach,
Rock knuckles,
Log legs.

Long hair that her mother likes.
Hiding booming breasts
and swelling guts.
Picking at the ends,
forcing them apart,
wishing it was limb from limb,
fat from bone, 
ripping her body at the seams.

Long sleeves.
Loose sweats.
Bloody train tracks 
carved into chubby wrists
by metal shards.
The meticulous art of self-hate
coached by parents
from whom she inherited the brush
to paint her body 
into the backdrop
and disappear.

A boy calls her beautiful.
She asks, “Why?”
Exclamations of inner beauty
cannot quell
the rising tides of shame.

Wondering why
out of all of the words that one can be
that fat
is worse 
than selfish
That by being more
a woman is less.

Sick of shrinking to fit.

Five sets - Gaia Church

Pure as driven snow
tarred a murky red-brown.
that cannot be washed away.

Torn elastic.
Faded blue cotton.
Sagging in all the wrong places.
Hidden behind insecurities
from the clucking voices 
with blossoming bosoms and perfect figures.
Self-hatred in a pimpled package.

Self-assuring eyelet lace.
Strung up in lines
like blood red warriors
ready to be donned for battle.

Crumpled diamond heap.
Mess of golden string.
Kicked under the bed
to dance with bunnies of dust
under a thundering throne;
then forgotten with the morning dew
like a lewd Cinderella.

Sturdy structure.
Staunch skeleton.
Burly waistband.
Best in beige.
Tucking away swollen bellies
and reddened tiger stripes.
A golden eagle
trapped in a birdcage.

Contributor's Note

A fourth year Bachelor of Management Studies and Bachelor of Laws student with a passion for creative writing and a desire to stretch her wings.


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