Counting Calories

By Bethany Keeshan

I was supposed to be alone in the night

The soft darkness enveloping the wispy streams of light

Flowing from the moon’s gentle scars

I was supposed to be counting stars

Not calories

I was supposed to be smiling when I saw them

An unquenchable thankfulness forcing me to withdraw, right then,

To contain the love and emotion I could only think of professing

I was supposed to be counting blessings

Not calories

I wasn’t supposed to preface each bite

With a unbearable form of delirious spite

That coerced my own body into wanting to die

So long as the figures in mirrors wouldn’t lie

So I am counting calories

I wasn’t supposed to taste the persistent oppression

My identity synonymous with my own repression

And just when I find strength to fight for survival

My sense of self and my body become bloody rivals

And I start to count calories

Again 

One, two, three, four

I suppress the suggestion that I am worth more

Five, six, seven, eight

As I’m taken in by insatiable hate

Nine

I should have been counting the lies

But instead I am counting calories

About the author

Bethany Keeshan was born and raised in Ottawa, and she is currently completing her BA in History and Mathematics at the University of Ottawa. She has loved poetry since she was very young. She believes it to be both a fun pastime and an effective medium through which to critically examine society’s strengths and flaws.


Let’s play pretend…

Because it is fun… and life is too short!

By Sandy El-Bitar

Let’s pretend that the weather is warm and we are popping soap bubbles in the park.

Let’s pretend that I am a better kite flyer and you are a better cook.

Let’s pretend that my cheeks hurt and my eyes are wet thanks to all the laughter.

Let’s pretend that I am fine and excited to explore this whole new world of mine.

Let’s pretend that I am comfortable with the whole situation.

Let’s pretend that you are not happy here because there isn’t enough livity in this city.

Let’s pretend that you are satisfied with your new connections.

Let’s pretend that I call you just because you are a good friend.

Let’s pretend that I cook for you just because you are like “family.”

Let’s pretend that I am eating well and taking good care of myself.

Let’s pretend that I am sleeping at night.

Let’s pretend that I am fine.

Let’s pretend that I am not jealous.

Let’s pretend that you know what you want.

Let’s pretend that you are an efficient decision maker.

Let’s pretend that I don’t think of you every minute of my day.

Let’s pretend that I am just acting Cocteau’s The Human Voice.

Let’s pretend that I am taking all these meds because the doctor asked me to.

Let’s pretend that I will wake up tomorrow morning.

Let’s pretend that we are just pretending.

Let’s pretend that this time you will cope, move on … and live happily ever after!

About the author

Sandy El-Bitar was born and raised in Lebanon. She graduated from the theatre program at Lebanese University, acted in numerous plays, worked as a clown doctor in four different hospitals, and traveled to perform in several countries. In Canada, she studied recreation and leisure services. Currently, she works as a life enrichment aid in palliative and end of life care, where she integrates art, play, and humour into therapy. She is also completing her BA in psychology at the University of Ottawa. You can reach her at selbi006@uottawa.ca.

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