Auntie Em learned to tell Dorothy that she was born
with ribbons in her hair. With trust, the ribbons
evolved like Darwin’s finches, grew like oaks
around her studs and hoops and veins.
“Someone had to do it.” One choked dusk, the dusk
of brown noise, the funnel shattered. Nutmeg ashes
shuffled her pigtails, sent her bows off
to sashay, denied her birthright.
Beyond: a car, a wheel, a leg that wasn’t hers
attached to a face with a scarecrow’s grin, chicken feed
cloth stretched across cheekbone stilts.
The leather did not crackle, but ached instead—too cowardly
a beast: a referee, locking doors
under quivering double knees.
“It was the red heels.” Auntie Em folded
the gingham dress into quiet squares.