“120 pounds.”
“You weigh 120 pounds.”

He wrote it down on a piece of paper, something with my real name on it and walked around me to get back to the computer.

“Is this scale accurate?”
I was still standing there, reading the numbers, squinting.
“Just calibrated,” he stated without looking at me.
The numbers had a bit of a halo around them. It was the light, my astigmatism, my vanity about it that made it hard to read.
“I’ve lost ten pounds in three months.”

He looked over at me without saying anything but I could tell that got his attention.  It got my attention. It wasn’t that I spit an apple into the palm of my hand mid chewing while walking down the street. It wasn’t the way I felt my teeth lock in place with the fistful of gesticulated bread near tonsils. It wasn’t the water stuck and lockjaw. It wasn’t the time in the woods when I massaged my jaw back open after trying to eat a snack, sore from talking to myself, from chewing. Or the two 911 calls in a year, the ambulance bills, the psychiatric referral. The way I felt the Caltrate lodge itself or the cherry pit plant. The way it hurt my wrists to type bolus or cyanide or amygdalin or the one I clung to globus hystericus. My pact with God to lose ten pounds without trying.

“Inexplicably,” I waved my hands in front of the mirror. “I lose ten pounds.”
Magic and mirrors are double edged swords. I’ve been trying to lose ten pounds since I was born.

“How tall are you?”
“I’m five seven,” I take one foot off the scale to put on my glasses.
He looked at me again.
“You look taller.”



“dysphagia” or “the act of naming things”

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