The Farther Away You Are, The Smaller You'll Appear* (Lb -36)

I used to stand as far back as possible.
This little trick served me well --
strolling by the Arno, admiring Leonardo's latest fresco,
feeding pigeons in the piazza -- no one suspected my actual size,
so long as I kept myself in the distance. Mother would
whisper as I left for market, “Remember, Lucia,
the farther away you are the smaller you'll appear.”
These days I'm much more confident.
No longer concealed at the backs of landscapes or in
the distant pasture with the sheep.
I've come out of the forest where
I'd hidden among the specks of trees
I'm glad to be the subject of the composition!
In the foreground of the still life!
On the table in front of the bowl of fruit!
Now that I actually am smaller, I have a new perspective.
Watch me disrobe. Paint me in full detail.
Make me larger than life.

*Filippo Brunelleschi, b. 1377--Florentine architect and engineer,
was the first to carry out a series of optical experiments that led to
a mathematical theory of perspective.

Nudibranch, Indonesia, copyright 2005 Mary Pearson

Copyright 2012, Nikki Schulak

Nikki Schulak graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. She writes perennially about her body, mostly as an essayist, although she also performs at comedy clubs. She has been published in the Bellevue Literary Review, Errant Parent, Hipmama, The Yellow Ham, and VoiceCatcher 3 and 5. More poems about her weight-loss journey can be found at

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