Age: 14, Grade: 9
School Name: Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Bronx, NY
Educator: Michael Morse
“I’m Not Hungry”
Three words spoken around plastic containers of sauce and overcooked chicken.
Directed at the promise of a second full plate.
Spoken with the flip of your head,
hands tucked under your thighs to keep from reaching out,
eyes looking anywhere but your favorite noodles,
long and yellow,
dripping with a sweetness crafted of chemicals,
but you don’t care.
You force down the cries of your stomach, you grind your teeth.
Dig your nails into the palm of your hand because
it’s better to feel pain then longing.
Another person around the table has grabbed the noodles,
slurping them into a cavern
that doesn’t appreciate them
as you do.
You keep your mouth shut.
You remind your mother that you had a big lunch.
You always do.
Night-time is spent curved in on the gapping crevice between your lungs. You trace
your ribs with a single finger to memorize your
Turn on the light to examine your stomach in the mirror under
fluorescent lights that protrude the shadows under your eyes and the pores on your nose.
Creep back to bed
after standing by the banister contemplating a trip to the kitchen
that will only end in misery.
You feel your stomach shrink,
clenching around nothingness.
Count the seconds before sleep comes and remind yourself that
you will be able to eat again. Dream of lollipops and turkey and noodles on a silver platter.
that an angel draws out your pain. How strange
that the devil is the one
telling you to eat.