The Girl Who Trod

by Peter Jay Shippy

Once a girl put my head in her backpack and took it for a walk.

She added in a few russets, too, so I wouldn’t feel lonely. I couldn’t see a thing, but I didn’t complain. It was fine to be away from my heartbeats.

I heard church bells and car horns. I smelled chocolate and my favorite perfume, Pretty Peach. I tasted dirt and deviled ham.

When we stopped walking, she took me out and set me on a redwood picnic bench. Behind me, I heard the sea. She stuffed my mouth with broken shells and began to show me her backpack’s clip-ons: Tinker Bell, a seal pup, bug-eyed puppies, and Lady Gaga. When she opened the singer’s mouth, a purr came out.

I wondered what my legs were up to.

Were my fingers thrumming the air, pretending to play piano?

Why did the singer sound like a seagull? Was her voice broken?

Before she left, the girl turned me around so I could look at the water and the white sun.

Was I hungry? Who would put me to bed?

Published on April 15, 2016