• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 03

The Joust

It was the shoe that brought me down, really. Up
Until that point it wasn’t so bad; I could buy what I liked without fear
Of running into someone I knew. But up-
Rooting oneself for Florida doesn’t fix everything.
My family came for my birthday: balloons, streamers,
A tablecloth like a scoop of Neapolitan unfurled on
My dining room table. All dressed in slacks and polos. My past
Approached: I readied myself,
Arrayed in flannel and jeans from home.
I pictured myself safely armored in beige,
While the Miami me wore a shining jumpsuit, pink puffed slippers, sunglasses like a visor
Deflecting the criticism of my family. I let the usual parade
of their complaints pass by without challenge, but
Just then my kid sister, the little usurper, held aloft
That day’s purchase, tissue paper floating to the ground: the little black and white boots
(So stylish with their Victorian button-up sides),
Crowing: How much are these worth?
I raised a threatening forkful of cake as she lunged – as in slow motion,
one boot rolled through the air like a juggernaut,
Tilted toe homing in on my forehead–
I fell awkwardly amongst the folds of the tablecloth, pulling it down with me,