Boy/Girl Order

Girls, we start off with a fairy tale.
Picture Snow White in the glass
coffin.  If you were dead,
our products could transform you
into a corpse fit for a prince.
Polished-apple red stain
would linger on your cheeks
while the witch's skin grows green
because she has wrinkles,
frown-lines, dark circles.
In contrast, accept this powder-sugared donut
as a prop.  Girls have a tendency
to get stale if nobody bites.

The boys are being primed
in the next room, salivating
over squeezed tubes, thick frosting,
a warmed up sandwich
minus the crust.

You liked your crusts cut off
when you were a child.
You smiled at smooth, white
bread and plastic utensils,
a sweet dollhouse scene.
But Mother doesn't trim your nails anymore
and we've all seen your rough edges.
Dirty underneath. Like witch fingernails. Like claws.

The declawed kitty gets the heavy petting.
You don't want to be a sick cat,
spitting your hairballs in public.  Just smile
and purr, hide the evidence in your purse.
Keep your transformation a secret, a pretty riddle
in a little pink pouch.  Sweet pussies -

when the boys come back, rub against their knees,
see how long before they gather
a handful of your hair
like it's a leash.  Even if it hurts,
hide the blood, discard
those horror stories you may have heard.
Those were told by the ugly girls.

(previously published in The Poetry Superhighway)
Juliet Cook