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Dented Glass This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Standing before a wide-eyed floor-length mirror, she clasps her hands around her torso,
ravenously strangling the burdened skin of her waist to see
if it’s any thinner than it was yesterday.
Through the smudges on the surface she resents the few calories she managed to eat the night before,
the thousand sit-ups that didn’t appear to work,
the gap in between her thighs for not being wide enough.
Her hands grip her stomach again, trying to stuff it back into its nonexistent confines.
Finally committing to hide behind a bunched up
paper-bag sweater, she amends to go
hungry another day.

Wandering eyes and passing glances would fall upon a slender body, spare in some places.
Some might notice the sunken cheekbones or the light,
barely-there bruising beneath her eyes.
They won’t see her ribs protrude from her torso like branches,
the hair falling from her head like rain when she combs it,
or the fact that she hasn’t had to buy tampons in three months.
They’ll believe the frequently aired claims that her stomach hurts too much,
or “I had a big breakfast, I’ll eat later.”
She can’t remember the last time she had breakfast.
She only remembers how much she hated being full.

Behind a wall of oversized clothing, she loathes the gift she was given;
altering the matter of which she is composed,
cursing her cells, punishing her skin,
wishing for something impossible
and thinner.

She stands before the funhouse mirror and the imaginary,
dented glass that contorts her body into shapes
that only she
can see.



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