The air was heavy with the sticky, sour smell of goblin men.goblin men

I went to market when I was 19,

my arms and legs soft and dimpled,

face round, hips wide.

I was too ripe, they said, too round;

I wasn’t hungry enough.

So between freshman and sophomore years,

my sisters fed me lemons.

From breakfast till dinner I gorged on them,

sucking rinds and squashing bulbous pulp

with my tongue and teeth;

I drank dozens of lemons, sliced and quartered,

mixed with sugar water; my lips grew red-raw.

My belly curled into itself, gnawing on its sides.

The body that used to swell beneath my hands was gone.

My breasts could be held, each in one hand, easy.

Eyes had settled farther back into my skull;

beneath them, the barest hint of lemon lurked.

My sisters took me back, sure the goblin men would come.

They liked the melted me,

plucked me quickly from my sisters to dark rooms.

It was always in the dark

and they dove first for that part of me

that hadn’t changed at all–

licked and scratched and pinched me,

juice smeared across my flesh,

skin bruised.



Kathryn CodyKathryn J. Cody is a freelance writer living in Lexington, KY. Her work first appeared in Prism, a magazine for gifted students, when she was in the fourth grade. Since then she’s been published by The Listening Eye, Urban Spaghetti, The Pacific Review, Peralta Press, Blood & Thunder, Mentress Moon, received honorable mention in the Best of Ohio Writers competition, and was a semi-finalist in the Bart Baxter award for Poetry in Performance. She won first place in the Community Writers Association International Writing Competition for her poem “Goblin Men,” a piece about eating disorders in young women. She has written articles for and short stories, as well as written three novels and has one creative non-fiction work in progress. She has read at numerous venues, most notably the Seattle Art Museum and has led many poetry workshops across the country. In addition to writing, she enjoys singing, swimming, and cooking.

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