In a small voice, she says: perhaps, if
the things I want are small enough,
and smooth enough, they will be forgotten
and not taken from me.
Small, like a small house. In this house
there is a small room. Inside the small room
there is a small dollhouse. Inside the dollhouse
is a small girl with no dolls. The girl who is a doll
has never heard of what a doll is. Instead
the small girl in the small dollhouse
has a small collection of small stones.
She keeps the stones in a tin for mints,
and they clatter around like hopes
in the midst of other coins,
each of the stones a name she hopes to keep.
Girl, like the kind of thing a girl tries to be.
Girl twice, even: first, to char the wood,
second, to burn the charcoal. Girl, which builds
up inside of her small chest until it misfortunes
into a spark from the world. Then girl all at once,
as it consumes her from head to toe in heat and mirage.
Girl as a catastrophe, something to befall her.
Girl slowly, as a secret, and then quickly,
a stolen secret, carried away from her to places
she has not begun to imagine.
NORA HIKARI (she/her) is a transgender poet and artist based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming at ANMLY, Palette Poetry, Diode, Always Crashing, and others. Her chapbook, Girl 2.0, is a Robin Becker Series winner, and is forthcoming at Seven Kitchens Press. She can be found at her website norahikari.com and contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.