Nicole Steinberg
How to Optimize Your Flesh Prison

Read the news article about the Lifetime TV

actress who dared to bare her pregnant belly

& feel progressive, then hypocritical, then hungry.


Watch reruns of Roseanne & devise a tweet

about how she & Madonna are the only culture

warriors from the ’90s who matter. Forget to tweet.


Stand in the produce aisle at the supermarket

& stare at the kale until you feel thinner by osmosis.

Buy cookies instead. Eat them two at a time.


Try on clothes during your lunch break

even though you already have too many clothes,

because you are so relieved to have a body

you can clothe & you must make the most of it.


Make salad your primary, most incessant thought.

When is the next time I can eat salad? Can I get

a salad on the side? Let salad destroy your life.


Allow the world to gaze upon your janky toenail

because it is hot outside & that shit needs

to breathe. Go on, creeps. Look at it.


Think constantly about the time you were thin.

Think constantly about the time you were obese.

Think about control, the only feeling you can fathom.




Found In Volume 45, No. 05
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Nicole Steinberg
About the Author

Nicole Steinberg is the author of Glass Actress (Furniture Press Books) and Getting Lucky (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2013), as well as three chapbooks, most recently Clever Little Gang, winner of the 4X4 Furniture Press Chapbook Award. She's the founder of New York's EARSHOT reading series and she lives in Philadelphia.