Dihansa Udawatta

The Illness

She’s the master of deception,
Her angelic voice a sickly Moscato,
Intoxicating, alluring, paralysing.
Her sweet smile radiant like the sun.
A siren of manipulation,
Luring you to the darkest depths,
The newest addition to her hit list.

She’s a chameleon who holds the reins.
Open the door, let her in.
Surrender to her gentle touch,
A slow suffocation.

She says control is your friend.
Don’t eat when you are hungry, only when you are starving.
You don’t deserve food, you have to earn it.
Aromas tease saliva, hazardous temptations.
Your craving. Your loss.

A little game we play:
You can last one more minute, one more hour, one more day.
As they say, sacrifices must be made.

Step on the scales.
Become the number.
And remember it.
Remember it well.

We are mathematicians, nutritionists, scientists,
Counting calories,
Calculating percentages,
Measuring masses.

Though they see your radiating smile
Hear your echoing laughter,
The beast within roars and claws,
spewing toxic acid.

The voices pound:
“Just one more bite”
“Just look at yourself”
“All skin and bone”

She takes over
Feeding off your hunger,
your pain, your weakness,
Leaving behind a ghost.

You free fall,
You let go,
From love
From trust,
From yourself.

In the darkness,
Your thoughts become askew
And your heart barely beats.
As she sings her sweet lullaby,
And sends you to sleep.

Dihansa Udawatta's poem 'Illness' was an entry in the 2022 Andrew Hardy Youth Poetry Prize (16 years and under section)