Amaal Said

I keep trying to lose my body

I imagine the plates of food left uneaten,

placed back on the counter

as soon as the kitchen had been emptied.

She asked, ‘do you want to die?’

I knew the right answer was ‘no’

but my mouth was too dry.

I gifted myself with scales,

kept waking up in the night to check

if I was less heavy.

I made lists of diets and crossed off six

until the cold water one nearly drowned me.

Most times I snack alone in the bedroom.

The rest of the family gathers around a table

with their plates full.

They thank my mother for feeding them

and pray that whatever is eating away at me

spits me out soon.

Amaal Said is a Danish-born Somali photographer and poet based in London. Her photographs have been featured in Vogue, The Guardian and The New Yorker. She is concerned with storytelling and how best she can connect with people to document their stories. She is a member of the Burn After Reading poetry Collective as well as the Octavia Collective, and she is a Barbican Young Poet. She won Wasafiri Magazine’s New Writing Prize for poetry in 2015.

This poem was also shortlisted for the New Writing Prize in 2015.

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