The Monday Poem is brought to you by Professor Jim Gormley of the English Department. Enjoy!
The Hymn of a Fat Woman
All of the saints starved themselves. Not a single fat one. The words “deity” and “diet” must have come from the same Latin root. Those saints must have been thin as knucklebones or shards of stained glass or Christ carved on his cross. Hard as pew seats. Brittle as hair shirts. Women made from bone, like the ribs that protrude from his wasted wooden chest. Women consumed by fervor. They must have been able to walk three or four abreast down that straight and oh-so-narrow path. They must have slipped with ease through the eye of the needle, leaving the weighty camels stranded at the city gate. Within that spare city’s walls, I do not think I would find anyone like me. I imagine I will find my kind outside lolling in the garden munching on the apples.
Joyce Huff is a poet from Muncie, Indiana. She is a professor of English at Ball State University. Her current book project, Conspicuous Consumptions: Fat in Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture, traces some of the roots of twenty-first-century attitudes toward fatness. She on the editorial board of the journal Fat Studies. “The Hymn of a Fat Woman” was selected for the Library of Congress’s Poetry 180 Project.