Sugar Free

Nicole Jacobsen


I measured the space between stranger and armrest

surfing swerves on the five o’clock train, aching

feet outweighing my fears. The stranger

protested my body.


I opened a café door, walked in, scanned

the menu for a salad to appease. Metal cutting

my sides and collective distaste as I crunched

lettuce with marshmallow teeth.


I dragged my feet along city streets, ankles

blistering the distance between my friend and I

stretching like Juicy Fruit fresh on the sidewalk, suctioned

to a new pair of shoes. Steps smaller, waist bigger

than five years of friendship ended

over size differences and the time

it took for me to catch up.


I changed my diet sugarless, brain starving

for honey, lifting my knees higher and my heart

working faster to undo

twenty years of feeding my addiction.


Fifty kilograms between worthy, the bitter

reward for aching feet now a welcome smile

and a pat on a gum covered seat.


Author: Nicole Jacobsen is a Brisbane artist, writer, poet, and aspiring editor who regularly finds herself re-befuddled by the difference between who and whom. Her background in Psychology emerges through character studies, obsessive bouts of self-reflection, and recurrent themes of mental health in her work.

Artist: Steph Blinco is a third-year Bachelor of Fine Arts student. As a local Brisbane emerging artist, her practice makes statements about everyday life through collaged imagery. Intertwining psychedelic patterns to create collisions of colour and era, Steph draws influences from autobiographical contexts, ranging from her childhood to her experiences now as a young adult. You can find her on Instagram @stephblincoart.