I cannot stopcollecting recipes, an unexpectedreplica of my mother / counting calories seeingevery bite an actI need to undo / lovingcherry blossoms that rain downeach spring, a torrent of pink petalsfalling / or buryingmy nose in the lilacs that rimmy neighbor's fence / I cannot stopthinking my body would be betterif there were less of itI cannot talkpolitics without getting angry / cannotdo a crossword or win Scrabble despite my extensivevocabulary / cannot keep a houseplant aliveI cancook and bake and tell you the exactcalories in a brownie / a carrot / my morningsoy latte / can run ten hike twenty walk thirtymiles / can spend the daywith a book and neverbe bored / I can tell you I love my dogs morethan anything else / I can no longer surviveon little sleep but also can no longersleep in / I can tell youwho I am but not who I want to be
“Self-Portrait” from HER WHOLE BRIGHT LIFE: by Courtney LeBlanc.
Published by Write Bloody Publishing on April 4, 2023.
Copyright © 2023 by Courtney LeBlanc.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the full-length collections Her Whole Bright Life (winner of the Jack McCarthy Book Prize, Write Bloody, 2023), Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart (Riot in Your Throat, 2021) and Beautiful & Full of Monsters (VA Press, 2020). She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry press. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning. Find her online at www.courtneyleblanc.com. Follow her on twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79.
Her Whole Bright Life is a collection of poems that weave together the trauma and exhaustion of a life lived with disordered eating and the loss and grief of the death of the poet’s father. Love and hunger intertwine and become inseparable as the poet grapples to find, and listen, to both. With a distinct and feminist voice, this collection delves into a life now lived without a beloved parent, while trying to survive a pandemic and battling demons that have lived inside her for most of her life. With both fierceness and tenderness, we see a woman trying to find her place within her own body and within an ever-changing world. This collection of poems is both an elegy and an anthem — praising both those who’ve been lost and those who remain.