reporting from the vanguard of self-improvement (1997)

I'm here with a woman
who lost 92 pounds.
if you think about it,
a whole small person.
thanks for joining us ma'am.
what can I say
but what they all
can't stop saying.
you look terrific.
maybe a little loose
in the skin.
tell our listeners,
was it mostly
for health reasons?

thanks for having me.
my doctor called,
he congratulated me
on my pressure,
my cholesterol.
but it's true what you say.
I want to tap the shoulders
of small women
in the aisles of stores
and ask them:
do you
by any chance
weigh 92 pounds?
I would truly like to meet one
who weighs exactly that.
Maybe she wouldn't mind
climbing up on my back,
letting me tote her around
for a few minutes,
to get the feel.
Do you suppose she's nice, at all?
or smart, or liberal?
I've always thought
thin little women weren't,
that they would wear
blinding white socks
for tennis, never read novels,
sit in church and say
Our Father
without once minding
that it's not Our Mother.
But I'd like to think
my 92 pounds
would have been
a good woman.
I wish I knew
where she went.

1997 Jessica Manke


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