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Anorexia Nervosa | Adedayo Agarau

Anorexia Nervosa | Adedayo Agarau

Anorexia Nervosa - Adedayo Agarau Agbowo Art African Literary Art


An eating disorder¹ characterized by a distorted body-image², fear of becoming obese³, persistent aversion to food, and severe weight loss4 and malnutrition. It most commonly affects teenage girls and young women, who often develop amenorrhea5, osteoporosis, depression 6 and sometimes death.



1         the first time i told my parents about depression
my father recoiled like a gun, my mother —tender
as the palms of evening sun—, folded into a smile
and asked if i was alright. 

when a body is set on fire
do you save the man inside
the moon or the light thrown
upon the face of the sea?


& indeed

no one




the floor

  except what creaks it


2                    pear-shaped girl with curly hair
broken in all beautiful ways

turbulent / i held a sea shell
to my ear at the beach when
i was four / the rancorous silence
still burn in my ear / it still reminds
of my little brother swallowed by the
beach that evening / his body
dancing lifeless to the music
of waves / my mother’s heavy
body crashing into the silt / &
a father’s long walk
his shadow the body-image of a god sliced
into a plate of grief  formed a portion of the night 


3                    a fallout bird
                      little brown kite broken by wind
                                     a country too heavy for its people
                                                        music too loud for ears
                                                                    grief beaten into a lake
                                                                             history has a way of retelling itself
                                                                             my grandmother died by hanging.
                                                                     her body clenched into a
                                                                     fist & knocked itself out


4                    i fear my mind
is a horizon
that sets itself ablaze

                        i am afraid of losing you
because you are the sea to me
i read my brother’s letter aloud
to start a church (of people crying)
in our house
my eyes
                     no longer
measure the height
of my suffocator’s shadow


for god so loved me
a.  he gave me a brother that crashed in a sea
b.  he died for me but i still bleed his sins
c.  sedative drugs no longer command my body to sleep
d.  one day, the body will take flight
e.   he prepared a place for me in my mind, a burning paradise
f.   he gave me an alternate reality of stones, a little boy drowns in my dream
but he does not carry the face of my brother
h.  my brother will come back to us
i.   he kept my tiny soul in a big body
j.   he planted a petal of thorns in a broken vase
j.   all the above…


6.                   broken girl—
pick up your pieces

                      you filth. you big
broken map. you puzzle
of a body. pick the fuck
up and don’t make this
room a mess. you
stink. you…



i throw a dart
of words at myself.
mistakes made by
genetics self can’t
be undone in prayer.
may the ground open
in a room full of people
& swallow me.

you lake, smelly fat ass
leave a note for your mother
and hang the fuck away
                                            what is a war when you can’t fight it?


Adedayo Agarau Agbowo Art African Literary Art

Adedayo Agarau

Adedayo is a documentary photographer and poet from Nigeria. He is an Executive Assistant at Animal Heart Press and a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine and writes on loss, boy child abuse, and absence. His works have been featured on Gaze, Mojave Heart, Glass-Poetry, Honey & Lime, and elsewhere. His Chapbook, Asylum Chapel, is forthcoming by Pen And Anvil Press, 2019.

This entry appeared in The Limits Issue 

Photo by Akshar Dave from Pexels

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