The Definition of Dissociate: For When They Compliment You on Your Weight Loss

When I am well,

I often think that

one could not


lose a day, like one loses a bobby pin between the couch cushions.


Lose a week,

like one leaves a bag at the mall.

Lose even years, like old love letters under the bed.


And yet I find the


like spare change and dirty tissues found

in coat pockets

when the seasons shift



They are remnants of past illnesses

and absentmindedness:

piles of dishes


on a desk, clothes growing

moldy in the bin.


You cannot remember

going to the bathroom,

or how or if

you ate.


Who did you speak to?

Who spoke to you

as if your mind was

not underwater?


They remain blurred and


and muddled.


Rank sheets marked with


lead you like a treasure


back to where you began.


Sure, someone gave you a compass

a long time ago,

but you are still working

on your

sense of direction


As your numb arms

stretch out your legs which have

been bent for hours in this one room

in the subconscious hope

of returning to

the womb.


Your room smells of

old sweat and the perfume

you use to mask

its stench when

others visit.


This. This sorrow

steals from you

the certainty,

the clarity

that you are you

and this is real

and that is important,

for some reason.


So. When people compliment you

on your weight loss

do not think about all you

have lost:

minutes blacked


from your mind,

calories, energy, sleep,


All gone

in the ether of emotion

that periodically pulls you under.


Your body,

simply a marker

of subtle decay.

Not a desire to shrink

but a lost will to sustain.

Not a disorder of eating

but a fear of still being



No, when people compliment you

on your weight loss,

do not think

about all that you’ve lost.


Let them think they are kind,

as they embalm your new wounds.

Do not think about all

that you’ve lost.








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