RK mirror
Photo courtesy of Rachel Kertz

To the boy in fourth grade
who asked me why my stomach
was larger than my chest–

To the girl in high school, who hated me
though we had never spoken,
because my arm was bigger than her thigh–

To my spindle waisted mother
who told me that I would be prettier than any of those girls,
when I was thin–

To the nights spent bent over the toilet,
a toothbrush down my throat
when a finger no longer worked–

To the boy who said that I resembled a tub
of cottage cheese poured into nylons,
and then ran his hands up my dimpled thighs–

To the girl who thought that made her lucky–

To the days I desired
to be called ‘slut’ or ‘whore,’
because it would mean that someone, anyone wanted me–

To the girl in the mirror
with the wobbly chin–
It was never you I hated.





Amber TortorelliAmber Tortorelli is a 23-year-old Canadian transplant to the US, where she studies Creative Writing full-time at Warren County Community College in Washington, New Jersey.




Rachel Kertz was born in a small town in Missouri in 1988. While earning her degree at Southeast Missouri State University, she became interested in photography and began using her commutes as excuses to go on long drives through the rural countrysides, hoping to find locations and abandoned houses to photograph. She hopes to convey relatable stories in her images that speak to her audience on themes such as loneliness, love, exploration, and the feeling of being alone in unconventionally beautiful places. You can find more of her work on Flickr.

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