George Helder




Starve yourself

I sit on my bed eating leftover soup
from microwaved tupperware to stave
off a dizzy spell. The plastic is discoloured
from re-heating baked beans.
I use a teaspoon so it takes
longer, takes more mouthfuls.
It’s a trick I learned. My mother
taught me with her hesitancy and pots
of sugar-free jelly and not much else.
I tell myself it’s because I’m poor. I’ll treat
myself next pay check with chocolate,
try to keep it, only eat it one square
at a time and brush my teeth straight
away to forget the sour aftertaste.
Can I call in sick at work because
I’m hungry? I eat lunch in the refectory
to disguise I won’t eat later.
In the evening, I dissolve
vitamins in a glass of water.
It’s healthy, I say. It’s healthy.
I’m healthy.





George Helder is a student at the University of Gloucestershire. He has published poetry in the university magazine, ‘Show Don’t Tell’; the anthology, ‘Reflections’; and for the 2016 Cheltenham Poetry Festival flash fiction event, ‘Life, Death, and Other Things’.

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