The long black hair fell out
of my purse. I'd been thinking about selling it
for weeks. How it sailed on the sidewalk
like something new and shiny
for a bird to pluck up,
fly away. Silky wings blinded me.
I didn't see the sharp beak
aiming for my eyes. My vanity
a storefront window; I was admiring my legs
on display and didn't see the blackbird
until it was too late to run away.
That hair was my rent money
and some purse-snatcher made me lose it.
Bills sinking into the cracks,
shards of glass, discarded wrappers. Me
on my dirty knees and I shouldn't have been
wearing that short skirt; shouldn't have brushed my hair
to a glossy sheen. He couldn't control his dive-bombing
fingers, grabbed under the roots and pulled me out
of my self-assured stance. My stupid pose.
It was my own damn fault for walking alone
-- a dainty dish, perfumed with bread and honey.
I sweetened my slice of pie, why
am I choking on broken bones, tweezing unwanted eyes
from the glazed triangle? The crust
is grainy, but it's not sugar
singing from my lips. It's a mean hiss
in my ear. It's the sticky point of a knife,
cutting me down to serving size.
(Serving Size first appeared in No Exit)
Self Portrait as Gingerbread Girl
How I long for a dress that flaps open;
don't care if the clasps are mismatched.
If only I could escape this edible mess
of shams. Flimflam frosting that offers an illusion
of frilly frock. Who wouldn't want to nibble my hem off,
eventually behead me. Obliterate my squiggle
mouth with its creepy insinuation that I shall transform
black currants into electric currents. In spite of
my seemingly permanent bedragglement.
In spite of my peculiar unbuttonability.
If it was up to him I'd be preserved this way,
under plastic. Me in my speechless phase. A still life
of each stage of the strip tease leading up to his grand finale -
gleeful slice to the neck. No blood, but disconnection; but
I didn't ask to be cut in the shape of a girl.
How I long to be abstract; imbued
with enough pepper to render me
ruined as a ginger snap; unable to be construed
as a girl. Oh the spicy misdeeds I'd devise
and implement if only these buttons were real.
(Self portrait as Gingerbread Girl first appeared in Wicked Alice)
Enter the room with a shiny lap dog
trotting behind well-lotioned heels.
With a ruffled floral print nightgown.
We serve freshly-squeezed juice and fluffy pancakes.
No dried-up fruit. No poppy seeds stuck between teeth.
We hope you perused the list of appropriate topics.
We serve freshly-squeezed juice and floral print
pancakes to shiny lap dogs. Enter the room fluffy.
Perfectly poised in the middle,
a round pat of butter appears
as if froma dollhouse-sized scoop.
We hope you perused the well-lotioned fruit.
We hope you exude politesse
when you enter the room, trotting behind
a shiny scoop, smelling sweet, serving a round
of appropriate topics. Please appropriately pat
fresh, ruffled lap dogs. Please don't leave
a crumb, a stain, a snippet of unapproved
fluffy. No stray dogs. No dried-up heels.
We hope you exude shiny poise, perfect teeth.
We hope you squeezed juicy poppies,
served fresh froma dollhouse-sized gown.
Smelling sweet from appropriate topics,
we serve floral print stuck between teeth.
We serve please no please no please no
butter-stained snippet of unapproved print.
Poppy seeds exude politesse when you appear
in the middle of a fluffy pancake.
(Seemly first appeared in The Poetry Superhighway)