Disappearing Spoonie, feeling invisible with invisbile illness

Poetry & Photography: Attempting Perfection & Disappearing Spoonie


When reading and revising “Attempting Perfection,” it made me think of a self-portrait I did during the time that I was bedbound. The final image of the poem is its opposite as far as color goes, but the feeling is much the same. At the time that I took this photo, I was feeling like I was fading from existence rotting away in that bed. Luckily I found things that helped me to mitigate the symptoms that had driven me there, but many people suffer for decades before diagnosis, just as I did. Of course the poem discusses a very different sort of disappearance.

Disappearing Spoonie, feeling invisible with invisbile illness
“Disappearing Spoonie” by Michelle Beltano Curtis. All Rights Reserved

Attempting Perfection

by Michelle Beltano Curtis

Cut, paste, smudge, erase. Here a breast (those your grandmas?), here a mouth (nice bow, but too crooked and thin) here an eye (dark as the devil’s), a nose, a torso, my thunder thighs. Every part disappears in a smear, a blur, a blizzard whiteout—too odious to leave a hint or trace, a mere shadow where a body once rested remains—the jane doe chalk—not outline, but relief.

All Rights Reserved. “Attempting Perfection” and “Disappearing Spoonie” may not be reprinted without permission.

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