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The year you lost two lives and gained six pounds

by Christina Hennemann

was the year you wrote your first love story,

a flash fiction called Eternal Flame, longlisted,

and dozens of poems soaking with heartache.

You were screaming for Instagram

to tend to your wounds but it didn’t.

You bandaged yourself, like you always do,

and it was a bit like spreading melted chocolate on your hips,

where his pubic hair used to nestle in tiny curls,

a tropical island, air too thick to part skin.

Hunger, insatiable greed fed you candies & crackers,

you tried hard to balance out your losses,

those strong horse legs in the mirror

the dread of your eyes, though.

You got used to them in the end, somewhat proud

that despite his death & yours, you were still squatting under the bar,

the load constantly getting heavier.

He taught you that only weightlifting builds big muscle.

You wrote an entire manuscript called Heartache Century

but your poems never quite captured the unbearable love for him,

how could it, could any writing.

At least you had him there on the page, under your palms,

and by the end of the year, he’d made you a poet.

That year you also learned that love

doesn’t die with death, it is a cat

with seven lives & seven fangs,

just waiting for you there in the distance

to push you to the limits, jump the fence.

Pressure makes diamonds, he used to say.

Considering your personal & professional growth,

it wasn’t such a terrible year after you died with him,

except for the kiss emoji you sent him at 4 a.m.,

drunk & careless about the consequences;

except for the time he rested his head on your chest

like his baby should have;

except for that night you whispered in his lips

that he was perfect.

That year you died twice & gained weight, little poet,

when you felt like it was the end, this time for sure,

you were really fattening up for the five lives & fangs left,

not remembering the order in which it started,

not knowing whether love’s last gift was a life or a lethal fang.


About the poem

This poem explores hunger in its different forms: hunger for food, love, and experiencing life to the fullest. It also addresses the conflicts that arise out of striving for satisfaction of our cravings: body image issues, fear of abandonment and the search for external validation. For me, hunger always comes with the struggle to find an equilibrium between over- and under-satisfying our needs

- Christina Hennemann


About the Writer

Christina Hennemann is the author of the poetry pamphlet “Illuminations at Nightfall” (Sunday Mornings at the River, 2022). She won the Luain Press Poetry Competition and was shortlisted in the Anthology Poetry Award and the Onyx Fall Contest. Her work is published in The Moth, fifth wheel, National Poetry Month Canada, Brigids Gate Press, Tír na nÒg and elsewhere. She is based in Ireland and currently working on a novel.


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