The Fourth Daughter

May 24, 2012
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Life’s no fairytale-
(spoiler alert everyone’s eaten in the end)
but I can give you half a story here.
A melting ice cream cone, mint chip,
fallen from the yanked hand of a child.

A maths test with a red A- in the upper corner,
odd circular wavers in the paper, a stiff smear,
lost somewhere in the schooling system.

A tube of face foundation that ran out more quickly
than most girls’, even the ones who wanted to look like orange geishas,
and a cheek that smarts sometimes but is never red.

A duffel bag full of battered paperbacks,
a stuffed unicorn with a ragged rainbow mane,
Tolstoy, Zimmer-Bradley, L’Engle.

A childhood in an eaten-up breadcrumb trail.
(Spoiler alert the birds had the best end of the deal.)

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