They said it was a record
year for being small. Tiny
was the new gray, the new
nudity, only without all that
airbrushing. My man thought
there should be a Y in August.
My man told me don't ever,
but I always did. Who was he
to predict what rained, or how?
My mother called me a complete
disappointment, as if it could be
partial, some kind of equation.
But I could paint the millimeter
stretch of bisque inside the fawn's
ceramic ear. Write my name in
cursive with two eyelashes, still
attached. It was a record year
for bone-crushing. People drank
from teacups smaller than tears
and wrestled on linen napkins
spread out on threadbare lawns.
The new competition of who
could defoliate the fastest, elms
and birches slapping down all
day long. After a while nobody
even cared to fetch the chainsaw.
My mother told me to diminish
myself using any available means.
I told her to cast herself in clay.
The kind you crush in your hand.
- Mary Biddinger (from Slant)