By Fiora Elbers-Tibbits


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.