Poem for Jillian Michaels

I find your videos on the internet,
and my body begins
the strange process of addition
and subtraction. You say,
kick harder, and I kick

harder. You make a fist,
and I make one too. I lose
myself in shapes I never knew
my limbs could make. Jillian,
I have been told so many times

that I am small. I practice violence
in the mirror every morning.
I watch myself cross-jab,
uppercut. I try to move
faster, better, more

like you. My mother is worried
about me, but she shouldn’t be.
How do I explain it, Jillian?
I don’t want less of myself,
just more

of what’s strong. I think of you
when I walk down the street
alone. Men look at me,
and I want them to see
a weapon. Jillian,

I want them to be afraid.
You sweat as you lunge
toward me, and you say, You
can do this. You’re not gonna
die, and you’re wrong.

We are both going to die,
Jillian, both of us will quit
when we’re old or broken,
but I promise you, Jillian,
I promise we will never
be small.

Michelle S. Reed is a Michigan native working as a freelance writer and editor in Chicago. She completed her MA in English at Bucknell University last spring, and she is the founder and editor of  Pink Slayer (www.pinkslayer.com) an online feminist magazine.