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fat girl

by Maya Maldonado

fat girl

when i was 17 a girl i liked told me i had an “ideal fat girl body”, and she was fat too so i knew she didn't mean it in a “bad way", just a way that made me uncomfortable. i’ve always known there were people larger than me, that where my hips and waist curve sits the privilege of

“baby ur not ‘fat’ fat

just chubby,



but her saying this to me didn't make me uncomfortable because of privilege, it made me uncomfortable because it reminded me of how people see me: fat girl. 


first and foremost:


the gift

of a lush

garden of flor de maga

thespesia grandiflora

unshaken by the 

taking of its name

for fun

and body

for hate. 

i didn't know

there was anything wrong

with my body

until people told me there was. 

i didn't know 

my body was a garden

until it was too late

and i let half of it

crumple up and die

like loose leaf paper,

lost and distracted

by the time i started 

watering it i hated myself

far too much

to drink.

too monstrous

for affection

how do i learn

to love myself

when people keep

telling me that 

“loving my body

is unhealthy”?

How do i learn to 

grow anything worthwhile

when every time i try

i am told i am wrong?




everyday i am reminded 

that to the people around me

i am a girl. 

i keep my fangs

in my front backpack pocket

scared to act 

and be labelled “erratic” 

scared to scream

when it's all i really know

how to do,

scared to be brave

in my words and presentation

because either way

i have been labeled unholy.

sometimes i tell myself

that my life would be easier

if i were to wake up one day and

actually be a girl,

but the more i exercise 

my stunted ability 

to process

the more i realize

i am not a girl at all

i am not a gorgeous sliver of shade 

in the arizona heat

i am not a Mitski song,

my body is a garden

and i am a dream,

my head is boy-ish

and nothing,

and i am a vampire

waiting to suck up

anything red in my path

like a happy




i love and thank my body

as if it were my best friend,

i love and thank my transness 

as if it were my front porch light

on nights where the dark is so thick

i can’t see my hands. 

ravenous tooth of my dreams

by Maya Maldonado

ravenous tooth of my dreams

o ravenous tooth of my dreams

the tour guide of the four corners

of my body

where i drip and melt

and ooze into the better

whole-hearted version of myself 

i promised both of us 

two summers ago,

i will learn how to love you,

how to hold you in my arms

without your softest parts

slipping through

like fog. 


o ravenous hand on my neck

let the dogs loose

let them chew me up

and piss me out 

leaving only a spot.

i'm sorry i failed us.

i will learn how to love me,

how to kiss my own forehead

like a lukewarm cup of water

sitting in the sun,

how to hold my own hand 

like a baby who cries

whenever you put them down,

i am slipping through my cracks

like fog.


Maya Maldonado

Maya Maldonado is a 20 year poet based in Tempe, Arizona. He is a Puerto Rican, Haitian, Filipino, and Dominican poet who writes a lot about his experiences and identity. He hopes to gain insight into who he is as a person and artist by sharing pieces of himself with you.

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