“Shrink” by Tania De Rozario


Nine years old: my mother is feeding me
slimming pills. She wants to shrink me

down to a manageable size; to fit me
foetus-like, into her palm, to curl me

back into her tummy, which she attacks
with the same oval tablets. I will not be

her easy child; I will not be small,
will not be pretty, will not grow into

hours of preening, primping, peering
into mirrors, into the way she obsesses

over cameras that shrink her down
to an action figure so tiny she fits

the box in my living room: television
started as a job that paid, but ended

as a loanshark who knew not only
where she lived, but how to get in-

to her head: sell-a- vision to a woman
whose only vision of herself is the youth

she lost, the body she had, her face
unlined by the lies of love, and she will surely

buy into it: the magic exercise
machines, cosmetic products, women

she once looked like selling her
back to herself like a bad drug

not dissimilar to the big brown pills
she urges down our throats before

meal-time: I refuse to partake in
these sorrows that are not mine.


Tania De Rozario is an artist and writer engaged with issues of gender, sexuality, and representations of women in Horror. She is the author of And The Walls Come Crumbling Down (2016, Math Paper Press) and Tender Delirium (2013, Math Paper Press). Her work won the 2011 Singapore Golden Point Award for Poetry, was shortlisted for the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize, and has been showcased in Asia, the USA, the UK and Europe. She is a two-time recipient of Singapore’s National Arts Council’s Creation Grant, and she runs EtiquetteSG, a platform that develops and showcases art, writing and film by women. Read more of her work on her website.

This poem previously appeared in Tender Delirium (Math Paper Press, 2013).

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Featured Image by Jona Fine.


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