The picture

Laying in bed

A vision comes to me

My mother

standing in a bikini


She is not at the beach or by the pool

She is in the house

Standing by her bedroom double doors

Frowning at the camera


The bikini is red, white, blue

Stars and stripes forever

It may be 1976, the 200th Us birthday

She frowns at the camera


My father took the picture

and in the days before photoshop

He sculpted her body

With a black pen


He marked out the extra weight around her abdomen

Black pens marks on her arms and thighs

Scars on the picture

Reflect her suffering from her imperfections


She was not morbidly obese,

barely overweight, 5’6″, 140-150 pounds

And yet it was not what he wanted

So he chose to mark her up


Years later, a similar set of pictures

Pictures of my brother before his death

Shorts and overweight, Father encouraged him

Go off the medications, lose weight


Mother suffered from this critical eye

Brother dies, off his medications

And me, I shrink away because of this scarring

Fearing the marks, the shame, the fat, the padding


The difference is that it is easier for me

I do not hunger the same way

I love to work out and move my body

I care for my health


And yet I know somehow, I have been marked

The black ink fading onto me

Staining my body

Scratching my picture.


Call it epi-genetics

I can feel those scars across the family

The shame, the frowns, the disgust

The fear, the pain,  captured in the picture.

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