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Jennifer Wholey

J Wholey

Jennifer Wholey received a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in communication (and medieval studies) from Cornell University. She is a journalist and editor and lives in upstate New York with her husband.


Inspired by Rachel Wiley’s performance of “The Fat Joke”

When my body first started attacking itself,
I didn’t notice,
(by which I mean I did).
I noticed the way
sweat dripped down my arms
in guilty rivers after a hot shower,
how a stemmed wine glass
wouldn’t stay still in my hand.
I noticed how hard my heart
was pounding, just like on our
wedding day when I tapped my husband
on the shoulder and we first saw
each other in our finery
realizing this was it, this was everything,
and we hugged;
except now I was laying in bed, not moving.

After a trip to the ER
the scale told me
I had lost 10 lbs. without realizing
10 lbs. on a five foot frame
isn’t nothing.

I was told not to get myself out of breath
I was afraid of walking, anywhere,
in this land of hills.
I got two new meds:
one to control my heart rate
and the tremors,
the other to keep my thyroid
from killing me.

My mom came to see me
(by which I mean take care of me)
and we shopped for clothes
for the thinner, sicker me.
I got two newer, smaller bras
And the Victoria’s Secret clerk
told the thinner, sicker me

Look at you!
I’m hurting.
You look great
(by which I mean smaller)!
I’m ill.
on your organs burning out.
How lucky, for your
skinny jeans.
on disappearing.

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