In a Pinch
after Gerry LaFemina
Every day of my childhood, I wanted a horse
and last week the missing girl’s body was found, buried in sand.
Daydream the sound of metal in the morning, uncovering, getting
purchase on form and flesh, a silk banana cupped in steel
claws like a prayer—so firm and gentle, even my father, in the
sanctuary of his workshop, would have applauded the dexterity.
That horse could have taken me far away and into another
dimension, all mine, where dwarves could love me and
whistling heigh-ho, would really be whispering I love you.
All I ever wanted to do was fit in, like his screws, nails, nuts and
bolts, labeled and straightened on shelves in baby food jars,
but when they used the word chubby, I knew I’d have to smash
those jars to squeeze in—and don’t think I wouldn’t have.
At my dance recital. I wore pink tulle and a headband of pearls
that my mother made me. Oh, wait, that was my sister. I was backstage
in the coat room, eating a many-colored candy necklace, staining
my skin sweet. I wanted that horse with a bridle and reins
made from a candy chain, strung so strong, it would slingshot me gone.
Instead, I sat cross-legged, muffled and surrounded by wool, with my
birthday gift, Barbie’s best friend, Midge.