Sing to the Soup

Daniel Garcia is a fiction, non-fiction, poetry and script writer based out in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He is currently pursuing his degree in creative writing, and goes to church frequently—and by church he means poetry slams. His work is forthcoming in SUGAR Magazine, has been featured at the University of North Texas, the WaterTower Theatre, Mountain View College, Grayson College, and Write About Now Poetry. When Daniel isn’t writing or slamming, he can be found giving as many hugs as possible, living by the words, “You are all that you have,” and falling off the edge of the Earth. The following poem about eating disorders and body image is Daniel’s debut for the SPEAK movement by CTC. This is “Sing to the Soup.”


They will ask you how you did it,

how you knew you could do it.

They will look at you,

desperation and disbelief warring

in their eyes,

and they will not yet know

of long walks during the day,

and even longer nights of yearning,

of howling at the empty plate,

of ripping sobs at every bite pushed past your lips,

and they will ask you how you did it.

You will not tell them

of the clothes you got rid of,

or the ones you held onto;

of breakdowns in fitting rooms;

how to get off the scale,

how to stay off the scale,

how measuring one’s value in absence

is absolutely meaningless,

how peanut butter isn’t a safe food anymore,

and cereal is still a safe food,

and how the words “safe food” and “bone”

and “flesh” and “blood” and “thin”

will lose their meaning, too,

and they will stare at you,

desperation and disbelief warring

in their eyes,

and they will not believe you. Not yet.

You will not tell them

of the grief, of hours spent in therapy,

loosening your hands from around your neck,

because you need your hands

to bring life back into this flesh.

You will not tell them

about how your mind sometimes lights up with numbers

again,

or how you went home last week and got so hungry

that you ate too much

again,

or how right after, it took everything within you

not to run to the bathroom,

because the bathroom was just down the hall,

safety was just down the hall,

but you didn’t.

You stayed right where you were,

and it passed, the urge passed.

It always passes.

You will not tell them

of cooking in your mother’s kitchen,

of chopping onions

and peeling potatoes

and salt and spoons

and learning how to sing to the soup,

and listening to music,

and listening to the music of the body,

and all of its needs,

and really listening to the music of the body,

and all of its needs,

and being patient with the body,

and remembering to be angry with the disorder

instead of the body,

and still getting angry with the body,

and stop referring to it as the body,

and start calling it

my body,

and apologizing to

my body,

and taking care of

my body,

and stop abusing

my body,

and stop believing that my body is a cage;

my body is not a cage,

my body is a body.

Recovery is the inability

to justify a life of safety in the hands

of an illness that is trying

to kill me.

And they will ask you

how you did it,

they will ask you how to recover

and you will tell them:

I’m doing it right now.

I’m recovering right now.

Every day I am alive,

every day I choose recovery,

I choose to live a life knowing

that no matter what happens to me,

I will be okay,

no matter what happens,

it’s going to be okay,

no matter what happens,

it’s okay.

I don’t have to throw up.

Recovery is staring at the disorder and telling it,

I love you.

I just love me more.

It is holding the illness in your arms,

and letting it go,

because there is so much living to do,

and even more poetry to write,

and food to be eaten,

and songs to sing to the soup,

and falling,

because it takes a long time to fall out of love

with dying.

And if home is where the heart is,

then it makes sense that my body

is the only place I would ever wish to be.

And I’m still learning

how to sing to the soup.

I’m still learning

how to listen to the music.


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