by Jennifer Thal
The tongue of Lake Michigan sits heavy in the palate, a numbed
sleeping beast, and has started to lap the sides of the concrete
walkways like a child eagerly devouring their first ice cream cone.
April is still brittle and bitter and carries the weight of
Winter’s expectation, gnawing at my flesh, latching
onto my excess fat and biting hard enough to draw blood. This
freshly hatched spring is a swarm of locusts humming against
my blunted eardrums, plaguing me with a biblical decree
that I will undergo a radical transformation as a fat woman.
A fat woman is the dawn of spring, half-lit and watching others
shed their down parkas and unwrap their scarves, dropping
woolen cocoons and emerging as pale butterflies ready to take
flight across the river.
A fat woman in spring is the same fat woman she was in winter;
stucco layers of lard de-thawing into a mudslide racing
towards a sleeping village.
A fat woman in spring is an act of rebellion; she refuses to molt
her weight as others have done during the frigid month of February,
she does not slough off pounds and push them under the bed
and wait until spring cleaning to discard the shameful mass.
A fat woman blooming in spring is a harvested bounty
after a famine; the river of her flesh has not frozen over
in the dark month of December, but has remained tantric,
pulled by winter winds and created waves on the snow-
covered beach of her body.
A fat woman in spring is radical: a meaty manifesto
coated in pollen and soft with morning dew. She uses
the cleaver made to carve off extra inches to behead
doubt and disgust, traitors who once praised the fire
sparked from bundled flesh then threw buckets
of water on the hearth trying to evaporate
the evidence of their affection.
A fat woman in spring is reborn; she emerges
from the soft clay of the earth as Venus,
oyster-shell hips enveloping a pearled
pelvis, iridescent reveling in her rebellion.
Jennifer is 23 years old and is a current student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She enjoys reading at open mic nights, advocating for body positivity, and empowering her readers through her writing.