Two Objects and a Girl
At breakfast the girl spits out gazelle fur with every sip of tea. It clings to the walls, her saliva like glue. Gets stuck between her teeth. At night she coughs up more hairballs than the cat.
She’s all instinct and scent. Smells too much of her father. He’s been sniffing around. Her fur has come in and her ears grow long. She’s skittish. On guard.
The girl’s mother hires a dressmaker to cover her daughter’s changed form, but the woman doesn’t have patterns that fit the four-legged creature standing before her. She advises the mother to fashion a bed out of straw. Make the girl comfortable. What else can you do?
The girl knows. But her long tongue can’t wrap itself around the word flee. The other girls call her wild and the teacher leashes her to the treadmill in gym. Over and over she runs the same course, clenches her teeth against tongue and tastes blood.
One day, just like that, the girl sheds her fur. Her ears recede until they can no longer be seen, and she starts humming. Her head narrows at the top and widens at the base and when struck, sounds a hollow thunk. Inside—a constant drone. She walks as though travelling through liquid gone thick and viscous.
At night, when the girl’s father comes to her bed, he complains of stings.
She pedals her bike around town. Flowers bend toward her as she passes and she aches to bathe in their yellow dust. The girl is last sighted near the bus station.
The people who saw her that day swear she shimmered like a hot-road mirage. She was there and then she wasn’t and the seat of her bicycle was swathed in bees.
*Méret Oppenheim’s “Object” (a gazelle fur covered tea cup, saucer and spoon) and “La bicyclette à la selle d’abeilles” (a photograph of a bicycle seat covered with bees)
by Staci R. Schoenfeld
Staci R. Schoenfeld is an MFA candidate in poetry at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and Managing Poetry Editor at Revolution House. Her poems appear in or are forthcoming from Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, diode poetry journal, and Bellevue Literary Review, among others.