Rebecca Jane Bedell
after “The Manliest Mattress” by Oliver Baez Bendorf
I came to the mall for more. The shoe outlet a small city of alleyways and families. The saleswoman guided me to the size-eleven strappy heels. You look like a model! she said when I rose to my full height. I turned a corner to a mirror, elastic string wobbling between my feet. I felt my spine lengthening. My ex appeared and said you walk so well for so little practice. Around my toes the black straps were a feast of racer snakes. The trans femme from the dive bar said, you look so good, I wouldn’t have guessed! My legs kept growing like bamboo, pushing me up past the ceiling. My grey-haired mother looked on, silent, frowning. By now I had grown so monstrous that only my feet were visible in the mirror. A crowd was gathering, looking up. My head was a skyscraper wrapped in wind: on the roof, two creatures were struggling, or consoling each other. I heard helicopters buzzing closer. I was the tower, watching it happen. I was the lady, yelling stop. I was the ape, shot down.
Author photo by Cate Barry Photography.