Adolescent Anorexics:
can be nothing but a cliche,
their necks and waists
pared down to a commonality.

They are becoming feral and angelic,
Fur springing from their forearms and upper lips,
Cheerleaders with yellow and navy polyester croptops
revealing an emptiness,

Their hair
like blond rain,
more giving up the scalp for the pillow
each morning.

The scent of vomit, bleach and strawberry
lip gloss
coalesces in front of them like
Skywriting bargaining with God, the body.

Their eyes burning like stomach acid
Their mouths drooling uncontrollably at the refrigerator light.

They are reducing
To satin bows around necks, the texture
of new teddy bear fur, and
curling into an earlier and earlier knot,
Recapitulating into a
sparrow, a
fish, a
A wishbone of endless white ice,
or vast vanilla ice cream.

They are returning to something everyone remembers
But cannot say.

They are ivory novices in an abbey
with blood colored shadows,
prostrating themselves before
Before it happened
before the ever slower
beating organ, praying
for the final reversal of miracle.

And in their ears they always hear
the tinny ringing—

A scratchy voice from a swollen
Victrola, singing

of the snow-white
beauty of bones.



The title, 1,000 WORDS FOR SNOW, comes from something I heard when I was a freshman in high school—that while we have only one word for snow, the Eskimos, being so dependent on it, have 1,000. While this is probably not factually true (I've heard it's only a hundred), I really liked the idea of the existence of words in other languages for things we don't give thought to. I think the word creates the concept, so in other languages there are other ideas we cannot even fit our cortex around. This poem is about how anorexics attempt to create a new concept, or word, with their bodies.