“Weighing In” by Michael Boccardo

Michael Boccardo


She considers each issue an exfoliant for the soul. Already, her room has been hijacked by copies of Cosmo and Vogue and Elle, rose scented Post-Its protruding from the slick covers in a fan of fuchsia eyelashes. A sufficient supply lies within easy reach of her newly lacquered nails, coated Provocative Puce, the hotter than hot shade of the season, according to Marie Clare. She renews her subscriptions three months in advance, never falling behind, no beauty tip going to waste. But like a drunk with an empty glass she wonders where she can get more. Late at night, through the walls, I imagine her flipping pages as if she were stripping back layers of skin, epidermis by epidermis. I see her hunched over, stressed about posture and recalling the warning signs of osteoporosis while she conducts conversations with models laid out inside their glossy coffins, girls airbrushed into women sharing their “Top 10 Secrets to Staying Anorexic” and the “Do’s and Don’t of Fellatio On a First Date.” She feels overwhelmed, like a bride on her wedding night, and glides past me without a word, unveiling new poses for the bathroom mirror. At fifteen, she is a stem of light fit for doorframes, lips pouting in a plush bloom, pelvis jutting inside its bony basket, but only she witnesses the betrayal of her body: hips inflating, breasts budding no larger than teacups. When her feet drift over my flat surface, my right angles, a shape, she notes, that never changes, suspicion whittles her stare to a splinter while my slender window calculates her appeal in pounds and ounces. Every morning I am the enemy, a landmine she detonates under a blindfolded heart, burdened by predictions of cheerleader tryouts, Sadie Hawkins and Homecoming. On her honeymoon, years from now, she will resist me for the first time and go to the man she loves, convincing him that she is beautiful with the lights off.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007

Rattle Logo