i thank

i thank

the women’s magazine that
says it stopped running articles on dieting

the loopy lilac print from the editors squealed
“we don’t want to perpetuate female insecurities”

i flip through the scented pages
admiring the glossy waifs
who live on air and compliments
arms akimbo on a 20 inch waist
perky plastic boobs that would please any man
and a frozen-frosted lip that says “i am beautiful”

articles about your body
how to become anyone but yourself
sculpt a stomach like hers
a face like hers
a life like hers

we’ve created an army of dolls
put together wrong

and they flash lethal images
at average women who now assume
they must have gracious breasts and wide hips
with nothing between the two

so–please–starve me
of affection until a man
can run his fingertips through the desert valleys
between my ribs

but do not lie to me
or pretend to do me favors
by avoiding the articles that help you
fly off the shelves

and do not feign concern for my confidence
that you were once able to deplete
you have already done enough

                – Michelledion Matthews
                   from Words Dance 3, Winter 2003