Poetry Feature: The sun shines brighter when I am hungry by Celeste Vandegriff

The sun shines brighter//when I am hungry//and the air tastes pure//like I am taking my first breath//I am so aware//that I am a living//breathing//human//thing//with potential burning white-hot through my flesh//early hunger is a delirious//roaring//high//like the raw electric joy that rises//when my breakfast starts//and ends//with a few swallows of warm coffee//it does hurt//the hunger//but the crawling stomach pain//transforms into//productive pain//workout pain//A-plus pain//first-kiss-nausea pain//proud pain//like my mother telling me my diet is working//like the roller-coaster-adrenaline of scale numbers dropping//dread drowns elation//as the blue-white morning fades//into golden afternoon//here//I must face a deep shame//I dedicated myself to hunger at eleven//I am now twenty-one years old//I have made it past lunch exactly once//it was a sugar-high happiness//yet//today//like every day//of the past ten years//I eat//if hunger is flight//food is burial//food sticks to my throat//chokes me//like hospital-grade nutrient sludge//drying up the caffeine//the purpose//the high//food settles into my stomach//like silt at the bottom of a polluted pond//I have bested much of myself//I have muted my mind//censored my tongue//forced my feet//along paths I did not want to take//yet my stomach//always wins.

Celeste Vandegriff is a pre-med biology student in her senior year at Towson. She has shown her dedication to Towson and its surrounding community through years of work as a Writing Center tutor, EMT, and domestic violence hotline volunteer. Vandegriff is in the Honors College and chose to minor in English to find people to talk about books with. She is president of the knitting club, vice president of Original Blend A Cappella, and writes in her free time to relieve stress.

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