To Make a Dragon Move: From the Diary of an Anorexic

Hadas, Pamela White

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Donley, Carol
  • Date of entry: May-05-2003


This poem, told in the voice of a troubled, angry teenager, describes her determination to control her eating and her body. The eight, eight-line stanzas each repeat the same words at the end of the lines, in a modified sestina form, so that emphasis falls on the same eight words: "disappear," "smile," bones," "fat," "mother," "touch," "person," "guts." By the end of the poem, the girl is clearly suicidal and unable to control her anorexia.


This powerful poem comes from the perspective of an anorexic girl. Although she tries to avoid food, she is obsessed by it and sees food imagery everywhere--in her mother's "tapioca thighs," in the doctor's Popsicle stick (tongue depressor), in breasts like "shivery jello."

The girl has sexual disturbances. She says she is "king" of her body; she accuses her mother of "getting it on" with her high school teacher behind her back. She is driven by Hunger as a person, half toad, half dwarf, that lives inside her. She tries to rock him to sleep as if she were his mother. But finally she just wants to disappear where there is no pain.

Primary Source

Beside Herself: Pocohontas to Patti Hearst



Place Published

New York



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