Grrrl in the Ballet Flats


The girl with scratched pink ballet flats sat carefully counting her change. Piled on her lap: nickel, quarter, penny, dollar at a time, disappeared into the pocket of a black jacket. Leather, maybe. Her lips moved at only the far corners, white fingers stayed busy. I watched the blue and fading home inked tattoos, one letter across each fingers front. They spoke to her past. R.I.O.T. G.R.R.R.L. I believed her. Wholly.


I wanted to follow her short-cropped head home. Eat creamsicle and kick at the prolific walls. The rats would have names and we would always have plenty of friends, for the house was broken into rooms like above ground wells. Fifteen, twenty or so, we would never take the time or the care to count. Everything leaked. But we were real. And could feel the velvet of the air that came from our open mouths as noise like a hammered trumpet projected. The pennies collected from lost corners and a cup held out filled our belly’s aching with cans of chili and too small amounts of wonderland. We cooked with our same spoons, over flame, a piece of cotton, a needle, and away we fell, fingers licking at the crisped ends of bandages from last weeks decisions.


At the top of the stairwell I lost sight of the girl with the scratched pink ballet shoes. I wanted to follow her home. To cradle her head and whisper: Riot Grrrl.

Blue ink poked into the bone, one letter for each finger, and one for a thumb. R.I.O.T. G.R.R.R.L. I believed her.