Jane Eaton Hamilton


The Small White Heel


It was almost my 12th birthday
It was sunny and the days collapsed
like tempers
All our mothers wore orange pedal pushers
slit to the knee
sleeveless blouses, bangles
My mother was a nurse
It could have been any one of us
she said. It could have been me
The mothers clutched each other
and cried
I paged obsessively through Life Magazine
I could not stop imagining the nurse who got away
her lucidity, her immobility, her terror
At night, I checked our locks
front door, back, garbage shed,
the metal cool under my sweating palms
Upstairs, while my sister sweated and tossed
on July sheets
I latched the windows tight
so no sweet breeze could reach us
Night after night I crawled under my bed as
Cora had, crossed my arms
over my chest, heart pounding
listening for the sound of Richard Speck
pockmarked, greasy-haired, heavy-footed
in the hallway coming closer
Above me, the rusty springs of my bed almost squeaked
It was hushed and dusty
I heard my mother climb
the stairs as if nothing was happening
as if the others before her
weren't already screaming weren't already running
weren't bloodily dying
I heard the toilet flushing, water running
her jewelry coming off like bells
I saw her bare ankles move past my doorway
into certain danger
By my left leg
Barbie was decapitated
her tiny white high heel
collapsed

Submitted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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