Rebecca Jane Bedell

 Woman Heels

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.

Rebecca Jane Bedell is a trans poet and writer based in Madison, WI.  Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Grist, Palette Poetry online, Barely South Review, Ponder Review, Vetch, and elsewhere. She is a recent MFA graduate from UW-Madison, where she received the William W. Marr Graduate Scholarship Prize, and now works on campus in student services.

Author photo by Cate Barry Photography.