Taking a bone saw to my sternum

Vomiting four shots of small batch Icelandic vodka Fashioning a glory hole from unused sides of Sweetgreen bread Shrinking faster than my shirts Slobbering on day two of adult braces Dozing through round three of ketosis Mourning lost girth Scrubbing the internet of all pre-2018 photos Plucking ripened violent recollections Fiddling with the skin on my forearms Dancing with my shoulders only Sexting with my most-unwell ex Flirting with vivisection

Power of 'The'

Employees of the World Bank simply call it "The Bank." To them, there are no competitors. To their clients, there are no alternatives. From April 2020 to the end of 2021, The Bank invested over $150 billion around the world, far more than most countries could afford to spend themselves. I went to The Bank's headquarters for the first time in January 2020. The day I flew to DC, I woke up at 5am next to a near-stranger. I put on black underwear adorned with fried eggs and neon yolks, ate a six-egg omelet, and took a cab to JFK while Lynn stayed in my bed. The flight was enjoyable—I sat next to Rupert, my unapproachable boss, and he ranted about his favorite restaurants in Jamaica Bay. Rupert's hair was greying prematurely after one too many nights spent sending frantic 2am emails while his newborn slept restlessly. He had a desperate glint in his eye; as the former head of epidemic preparedness for Google, he was fairly certain the world was going to shut down in a few weeks. The kernel of bullshit in Rupert’s regular pitches for money and power was that he always spoke of how our organization at the United Nations was ready to "turn the corner" on any given project. In his mind, the world was an octagon. Before infiltrating The Bank, we met for coffee with Clyde, who I affectionately refer to as Saudi Money Man. A bald political scientist turned venture capitalist and power broker, Clyde was thrilled to be in on the action. He made clear that we were in town to “rob the World Bank” and that we would stash the cash in my expensive leather duffel. I didn’t drink any coffee; I never have, really. Growing up, my mom would wake me at 5:30 every weekday so that she would have company at Starbucks. I always got hot chocolate with whipped cream until she decided my body needed reconfiguring. I dozed off in our third meeting at The Bank. I went to the bathroom and slapped myself across the face. I gave up on taking notes, investing all of my energy in keeping my eyes open. Our interlocutors commented that they had a “small fund” of $200 million in Uganda (15% of the country’s entire public sector spending portfolio) and that they’d be open to giving us a cut. The following evening, I got dinner with my first love. It’d been six months since we had seen each other last, and I was hoping that losing twenty pounds and buying several thousand dollars’ worth of clothing would pique Es’s interest. We had fish at a restaurant on the water, walked to grab a bottle of dry white wine, and chatted for an hour in my AirBnb. I asked her to stay a while longer, but she said that she hated her body and had to go to SoulCycle early the next morning. *** McKinsey is known internally as “The Firm.” Most famous for maintaining Puerto Rico’s status as a debt colony and stroking narcissistic 22-year-old egos, The Firm made a record $10.6 billion in 2021. Several higher ups at The Firm mistook me for the UN’s Resident Coordinator for Qatar on a call with Clyde in May 2020. I didn’t correct them. We were hoping The Firm would bankroll a project to institutionalize fatphobia in the country and my elevated status was helping move the deal along. Clyde began a subsequent meeting with the same representatives of The Firm by lifting an enormous rabbit onscreen. Clyde explained that Adolphus was his Flemish Giant, the largest breed of rabbit in the world. He had been getting lonely while holed up in his condo in Miami, sometimes circumventing my supervisors by calling me on WhatsApp in the middle of the day. *** The CIA is referred to as “The Agency” by alumni. The current CIA director was hired to our center by my boss, who says he’s been “a friend to The Agency since before it was created.” In February, I prepared a presentation on Why China Is Big and Scary and We Should Maybe Go to War for an audience of 60 members of The Agency. Although Mike Pompeo’s plot to assassinate Julian Assange fell short during the Trump administration, Pompeo might just get his wish four years later: a British court recently ruled that Assange can been extradited to the US, despite the chance that he may be put to death. Already a thin man, Assange lost 30 pounds after being forcibly transferred from the Ecuadorian embassy to a maximum-security prison. The sudden weight loss contributed to a decline in his health which prevented him from speaking normally. Reflecting upon his own gaunt physique in the wake of losing 90 pounds in six months, Pompeo, a former director of The Agency, commented in January, “losing weight has been a lifetime struggle for me.”

Quarter Life Crisis

My bed is collapsing. The cheapest all-black bed frame I could find on Amazon has eight legs, five of which have maintained their balance on six-inch bed risers. I slid down the bed on the night of my 25th birthday, edging towards the leaky brick chimney and the seven bottles of Havana’s finest rum it houses. There’s nothing on the mattress except for a pillow. I blacked out in March and woke up in a pool of urine; once my sheets were cleaned, I lacked the energy to reaffix them. I got Covid for a second time soon afterward, and by the time I ended my isolation the mattress had accumulated thousands of fuzzballs. I bought new linens but didn’t want to subject them to the discomfort of being my bunkmate. *** I work for one of the world’s most infamous war criminals. He cancelled his birthday party, which coincided with my own, and decided to Zoom into Davos as a precaution against Covid. I wonder if the gravel in his voice results from an accumulation of kidney stones that God is saving up for his final months. His oldest student, my day-to-day supervisor, is upset that the Trump administration did not execute his plan to murder the president of Venezuela. He pines for the good old days when the CIA needed only two degrees of separation between top leadership and assassination attempts. *** My phone can’t recognize me. The photos app thinks I am five different people. It’s not the angle or the lighting, it’s that I have been starving myself for almost half my life. Losing one hundred pounds in a year didn’t make the stretch marks fade. It just made me stretched thin. Cords constrain my ribs, triceps, adductors. Scar tissue dampens my pulse. *** A dove is nesting above my front door. I named her Tabitha. Her eyelids are pale blue—the hue that people say those with bluer eyes than mine have. Her boyfriend, Jefferson, brings an unreasonable number of sticks to her each day. The wind has blown three of her nests off of the ledge, but she continues to assemble new shelters. I use my defunct, United Nations-branded umbrella to lift the fourth nest onto her precipice, but she seems unable to move over to it. The next morning there is a shattered egg on the stoop. *** Vomit in my belly button. Stretch mark on my dick. Haven’t brushed my teeth in weeks. Something new under the sun.


I wish I could still scream like that. Enough to puncture a lung. Every cell self-harming. *** I loved my mother once. When I was seven, I became gruesomely constipated as I was deathly afraid of my cousin’s smelly downstairs bathroom and repulsed by his miniature Schnauzer. I cried for my mom. She took me home and sat with me as I bled from my asshole. Much of the time I got with my dad was spent playing basketball. I was never any good, but I clung to it since he had played in high school and would only break his bad finger while playing every year or so. *** It started with a dainty ‘pop.’ Like removing a snug tuperware top from its greased body. Then agony. I had pivoted quickly on the edge of our small concrete court in an attempt to save the ball from careening out of bounds. My ligaments snapped, sending my right kneecap flying. There was a taught, flattish void where my knee belonged. My kneecap was hanging on by a thread five inches out of place, closer to the back of my leg than the front of it. The fire department was just around the corner, so a truck arrived quickly. Firemen bruskly lifted me onto a stretcher, nonplussed by my terror. My mom reached out to put her hand on my severed tendon—I growled that she needed to step back. The lead fireman, a graying old-timer in his 50s, stopped dead. He grabbed me by the neck and said that he would beat my ass if I talked to my mother like that again. It was another hour before my knee was back in place. *** The cartilage in my knee had been mutilated, so I needed surgery; Dr. Salutpis obliged. He was an affable man with a benign fetish for the underside of preteen kneecaps. In the wake of the surgery my knee swelled to four times its normal size—Salutpis drained three gargantuan syringes of my blood, which I can only assume he later drank in celebration. I wheeled around the empty house in a Herman Miller office chair, unable to walk. High on vicodin, I watched every game of the world cup in Johannesburg and blew my vuvuzela to my heart’s content. When I regained semi-consciousness, I read about which vegetables to eat when you were starving yourself and fantasized about getting the kitchen knives sharpened.