The fantasy Olivia Who is ~ * Thin * ~ Uses that body to the extreme She rides fast horses And not even just that She can stand on their backs Without hurting them Doing trickshots with guns That I also know how to use Once my fingers shrink To hold them.
The thinness I imagine is incredibly healthy But it has nothing to do with avoiding heart attacks Or looking sexy. I don’t want to count calories if my biggest goal Is to fit into a dress Into someone’s arms Into an ideal To fit easily into a world that would then Just find another insecurity to expose
I want to be the fittest person alive sometimes Only I’m too scared to join the marines And I don’t want to use my fitness To kill (the guns are just for show) I want to be the fittest person alive So I can leave. Going into space Is the ultimate fuck-you of fitness And John Glenn is my inspiration Losing thirty pounds to fly to space Jogging every day so he could go up there Into the vastness just once Then again aged seventy-seven He kept it that tight For us, all that time
John Glenn is the fantasy: He experienced his weight times eight But also the freedom Of anti-gravity The knowledge that he goes down in history As the one with the morals and Iron-clad weight-loss routine
John Glenn is the fantasy: So fit he could run for office And win.
John Glenn is the fantasy Adoring wife – childhood sweetheart Adoring children – one boy, one girl A bedrock of absolute normality To push off from to reach Adoring public – parades, medals, museum And underneath his shirt honest-to-god All-American Apple-Pie-flavoured Abs
Weight-watchers should sell Diet space-food with his face on it There should be a John Glenn challenge On The Social Media Gyms should keep pictures of him On their walls And we can all Blame obesity on NASA Cutting the space-flight programme: None of us have anything to aim for anymore If we’re stuck on Earth We might as well Really weigh ourselves Down.
John, I’m losing maybe one pound a week On a good week And lately, That’s a really good week It’s hard to keep going with nothing waiting for me At the end of the journey but another journey Called maintenance I’m fighting my fight at least three times a day With no one at my side but a shredded ghost.
John Glenn I call on you To stop my hand on its way to my mouth As it tries to stopper up the sadness And instead feed me stories About seeing four sunsets in one day And running on the beaches of Florida Filled with hope.
Olivia Payne is a librarian working in London. She's an alumnus of the Faber Academy and proud member of the Write Like a Grrrl community. She's previously had work published or forthcoming in places including Uncharted, The Amphibian Literary Journal, Cobra Milk, Ellipsis Zine, Corporeal, Alphabet Box, Sonder Magazine, and the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review.