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Poem of the week: Husk by Margot Armbruster


A strikingly accomplished work from a 16-year-old poet reflects on the resonances of anorexia with religious fasting


How did we ever get here? I have been measuring
my worth in etched wrists for so long I think my bones
are made of aspartame. Or plum blossom. Can I
gain solubility, dissolve? Can I become entirely blood?
Viscera. Cold palms pressed against
my back. Ribs. Ankles, spine. This resembles a checklist
but is more truly a prayer. A prayer offered
in the rain with a headache behind my eyes.
A prayer offered propped against the car with trembling
hands. Some Magnificat for vivisection. He hath filled
the hungry with good things. Communion wine burns
on an empty stomach. Lord, have I already martyred
myself for skinny jeans? What if I wake up a husk,
made clean and dry by sunlight? What if I wake up
as sunlight itself, yellow and sharp and hard?

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