Poet and Model: Elyse Marie
Photographer: Waleed Shah
MUA: Ellaine Fatima


these are not monsters. there are no monsters here.
these feel like love, and when they creep inside you
it’s like something once missing is finally coming home.
how could a monster make such pretty girls?
pretty skinny girls,
they look like everything
that is wonderful about being alive,
like vodka diet cokes
and pictures of hip bones at the beach
and all i’ve eaten for the past three days is my own fingernails
and these monsters (not monsters)
can make you pretty too.


you’ll learn to make jokes about why you’re slicing
the five strawberries you brought for lunch
(and breakfast, and dinner)
into twenty-five pieces.
lifting the morsels from perfectly
folded napkin with delicate crackling fingers
to hesitant tongue
and when the jokes get too cumbersome,
and taste too much like nourishment,
like letting go, like happiness,
learn to put an end to lunch,
forget what it means and
by the end of your last year of high school
you’ll know every spot in the building
where no one will ask where your friends are
and why you look so tired.


the monsters (not monsters)
will share their secrets.
you’ll learn that needle-thin bones, when crushed
into a fine paste and stirred into
the twenty glasses of water you were going to drink today
taste like lemonade
and you can have a sip
for only the cost of the rest of your life spent worshiping
the feeling of hollow
searching up number and number
and dead girl and number
you, too, can spend the rest
of the day smelling of what
you just had to scrub off the
bathroom floor.


go, they’ll say,
outstretching manicured hands, bottle cap wrists—
memorize menus and all the lies you could tell
spend hours at the grocery store counting
one hundred
two hundred
no more than three
or else suddenly your thighs begin to inflate like the balloons
from all the birthday parties you couldn’t go to
you will learn to avoid celebration
because celebration means food
you will spend christmas day
fanaticizing about burying
your dissolving teeth into your knuckles
until your heart stops.


the not-monsters
will feed you your first cigarette
and your second, and your tenth.
they will leave your once shiny hair
in a clump
on your pillowcase, just for you.


and when your body gets too weak,
it starts to crumble,
but where sick breaks skin
sunflowers will grow.
an entire garden will force
itself from your empty stomach
billowing out your mouth and you’ll choke
but you’ll be happy
because at least you’re not eating
you’ll decompose
until you cannot be differentiated
from all the skeletons that have been
living in your closet
don’t you wish you could shrink
don’t you wish you could have that control
don’t you wish you could make your mom cry
because she just doesn’t get why you’d do this
you don’t get why you’d do this
you’re smart but you just googled
how many calories are in tooth paste
the pretty girls
pretty skinny girls
pretty skinny girls
pretty dying girls
pretty dead girls
the parasite can be restrained but not destroyed.
but no matter.
it’s a beautiful thing to be made of porcelain.
the picture of your hip bones at the beach was worth it.