“Your boots are ugly-

just like your face,”

she snaps.

 

I am drinking next to the cooler.

 

My throat gulps.

My heart protests.

My lips part.

 

Blinks later,

I hear laughter

from her audience.

 

 

A week elapses.

Their thunderous laughter

strikes intermittently.

 

Retorts refuse

to form phrases as

thoughts ghost my tongue.

 

My beautiful brown boots

stare at me, “How could you

not stand up for us?”

 

I shut my closet-

hoping to wear

my  confidence soon.

 

 

3.

“Your opinions don’t matter to me.”

I rehearse in the mirror.

 

My body clenches,

unable to carry its weight.

 

My words shiver,

unable to carry their meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

The predator studies the

solitary butterfly from afar-

imagining her palms clasping it.

I am washing hands.

 

A foot taps.

She comments on my

usefulness or lack thereof

as a human in society.

 

This time I smile and say,

“That was really mean.

Does that make you feel

better about yourself?”

 

Her minions stare into silence.

The honed wings of the butterfly

cut the palms of the predator.

My boots carry me to sociology.