The contemporary British poet Patience Agbabi first published "Eat Me" in her 2008 collection Bloodshot Monochrome. The speaker in the poem is a woman trapped in an abusive relationship. Her male partner, obsessed with fat women, feeds her incessantly, and the speaker becomes dependent on him for her one brief "pleasure" in life: the "rush of fast food." Eventually, she becomes so big that she is able to suffocate her partner with her own body, freeing her from his control. The poem highlights the emotional complexity and slow violence of domestic abuse, as well as the dehumanizing power of sexist objectification.
When I hit ...
... stone in weight.
The icing was ...
... even taste it.
Then he asked ...
... like a juggernaut.
The bigger the ...
... masses of cellulite.
I was his ...
... like forbidden fruit.
His breadfruit. His ...
... craving a wave.
I was a ...
... chubby, cuddly, big-built.
The day I ...
... down my throat.
Soon you’ll be ...
... dying sentence out.
I left him ...
... house to eat.
Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
Agbabi's Spoken-Word Poetry — Watch a video of Agbabi performing some of her poetry (and get a sense of her rhythmic spoken-word style).
A Short Biography — Learn more about Patience Agbabi, and hear a couple of her poems read aloud.
Agbabi in Conversation — The poet talks about her life and work.
Agbabi on Writing — Listen to Agbabi discussing her writing process.
1When I hit thirty, he brought me a cake,
2three layers of icing, home-made,
3a candle for each stone in weight.
4The icing was white but the letters were pink,
5they said, eat me. And I ate, did
6what I was told. Didn’t even taste it.
7Then he asked me to get up and walk
8round the bed so he could watch my broad
9belly wobble, hips judder like a juggernaut.
10The bigger the better, he’d say, I like
11big girls, soft girls, girls I can burrow inside
12with multiple chins, masses of cellulite.
13I was his Jacuzzi. But he was my cook,
14my only pleasure the rush of fast food,
15his pleasure, to watch me swell like forbidden fruit.
16His breadfruit. His desert island after shipwreck.
17Or a beached whale on a king-size bed
18craving a wave. I was a tidal wave of flesh
19too fat to leave, too fat to buy a pint of full-fat milk,
20too fat to use fat as an emotional shield,
21too fat to be called chubby, cuddly, big-built.
22The day I hit thirty-nine, I allowed him to stroke
23my globe of a cheek. His flesh, my flesh flowed.
24He said, Open wide, poured olive oil down my throat.
25Soon you’ll be forty… he whispered, and how
26could I not roll over on top. I rolled and he drowned
27in my flesh. I drowned his dying sentence out.
28I left him there for six hours that felt like a week.
29His mouth slightly open, his eyes bulging with greed.
30There was nothing else left in the house to eat.