Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Diet Pill Scriptures by Jennifer Thal

My kitchen window Gods

Les Grandes Baigneuses, or The Large Bathers, is a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir made between 1884 and 1887. 


The Diet Pill Scriptures 
by Jennifer Thal

I turned to scripture in desperation
because they said we don’t have your size
in the store but we can order it online,
a secret package with contraband goods,
and I tried to crawl back into the dated canvas
of Impressionist paintings locked in stone
buildings, seeking comfort in the oiled
arms of women bathing in streams and
sunning themselves in open fields, but
found the frames broken and the figures
fled, and all that remained was a bottle
of text, inscribed with the declaration
that my body is a sin, a spawn of history
faded by varnish, that it should be reduced
pound by pound in the name of mercy
because Eve did not wear a size 16,
and that Eden does not have room
for plus-size women who are greedy
to take up space in an infinite garden.
I turned to the fatty foundations of my ancient
temple and burned it down, and began to build
a new haven made of diet pills, caffeine
headaches, and detox powders,
I opened my arms to the brethren of the BMI
and the sacred priests of the scale that stormed
the soft doors and proclaimed that there are
demons with sugar-spun claws that are holding
my smaller soul hostage, that I must banish
these creatures, burn the disciples who clutch
onto the false God of fat and stone them,
cleanse my altar and extinguish the radical
fires ignited by false prophets of self-love.
They wailed that my body is not holy
until I purge these evils from my flesh.
When I held the diet pills aloft
and kneeled, my knees were cushioned
by starved salvation and by porcelain
protection, and I heard a hallelujah
in the chorus of weight loss challenges,
and I carved from the sacred text the letters
XS into my skin.

I vowed that I would become a devout
practitioner of counting calories and pray
to the icon of a beach body, that I will
believe in a higher power of green-tea
supplements that will exorcize the hedonists
hiding in my pockets of fat, that even when
the deities of diet pills remained silent
and would not grant me the salvation
I was promised, I would behead
the betrayers, one by one until
there was nothing left but bodies
rotting in the Entrance, and the sharp
pang of glory in my empty temple.