May 4, 2008
Girls tie their shoes. One bunny ear, two bunny ears, of grime stained enamel shoelace, wrap around the tree, held with chubby fingers, goes into the hole and gets lost. Disney princess shoes take their place. Girls velcro their shoes. Girls put on mommy’s shoes, midnight pumps without laces, like canoes, swimming around pearlized paws. Oversized cocktail dresses like sails, billowing like Hubba Bubba, pink skin thin and wrinkled like elderly hands. Girls tie their saddle shoes, the bunny more cordial this time, and clutch mommy’s hand, her wedding ring making a cranberry sized indent on pink palms, and the girls dream of princes with teeth like powdered sugar and straight backs. Girls sit at wooden desks, plastic chairs sticking like wet rags to sweaty skin. Girls see boys, little people with shorter hair, compact cyclones with guns, explosives, sirens, all bursting forth from their hungry mouths. Girls ignore them and skip away. Girls call dad, and he speaks in tongues, “missing you,” “working harder,” “few more months,” phone crackles, pops, and hums with voices stifled by long distance lines, and girls sit and wonder about daddys, and daddys, and daddys. Girls peel off shoes, grass like strips of blue raspberry tongues, coated in sticky glossed candied blood, blades like tiny lashes on bare soles. Girls kneel by canopied beds in baby’s breath rooms, porcelain dolls gathering dust as they shift beady gazes, false eyes watching and waiting, as the girls pray. And wonder why they pray. And pray. And wish for people to hold. Someone different. Not God. But maybe. Girls shoes scrunch, turning toes white, and legs shoot like coltish stalks of dandelions, trembling uncertainly, blinking for the first time. Girls balance like drunken ballerinas, turning with a body for someone else. Someone older. New shoes are necessary. Girls voices plummet to depths uncharted, words overshadowed by too many thoughts, and too few people to listen and give a damn. Girls stand still, others scamper, girls saunter, others flee, girls run, others fly, and shoelaces are untied. Girls find boys. Boys find other girls, and other girls, and other girls. Girls dodge pellets of steel hinged whispers, passed notes in curled cursive type, and shoes that are too tall its slutty, too flat, its prudish. Girls glimpse love through frosted windows, their breath melting just enough to make it look too scary to fathom, but girls want to melt more and more and more and see something safer, that they can have too. Girls stand at airport terminals and notice faces from photographs, and voices from telephones, and he smells like new shoes, desired yet untouched. And he smells like dad. He comes and he leaves. He comes and he leaves. He loves and leaves anyway, so girls know men. Women know men. And shoes are inconsequential.

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