There you were. A fist-sized, smiling
blonde, blue-scarved and blue-eyed,
with lots of nested potential. Sturdy.
Hard to knock down.

But there was that long-legged one
with the improbable chest. And that
other one, soft as a pillow. An orphan
born under a cabbage she claimed…

“Your scarf looks like my grandmother’s”,
hissed the leggy viper. “Who’ll sleep
with a wooden girl who rattles whenever
she moves?” asked the foundling,
faking innocence.

“Moves? Check this move”, you said.
Smoothly, as if it were nothing, torso
twisting one way, hips and legs
the other, and suddenly…you were
down a size.

They were speechless! Even
the top-heavy bimbo was shocked.
You were so proud. Your cheeks
shiny red dots. Just a little smaller,
that’s all.

Of course the whispers returned.
“Too much make up.” “Still shaped
like a pear.” You knew what they wanted.
So you twisted and shrank
again and again.

Now you’re the size of a thumbnail.
A blue peg with a pink smudge face
too small for expression. The split
husks of your larger selves lie all around,
sideways and smiling.

Over the years, Fain Rutherford has worked as a soldier, lawyer, university instructor, rock-climbing guide, survival instructor and at-home-dad. He currently resides in the desert of central Washington State. His recent poems appear or are scheduled to appear in Subliminal Interiors, Right Hand Pointing, Poetry Quarterly, Front Porch Review, Eunoia Review, Connotation Press, and Apeiron Review.

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