I was merely small then;
a nervous, chatter-toothed scramble
of fur going up the old sycamore,
a puff-tailed scurry across
the courtyard. I used to jump, too.
Unfurling the sail of my body
mid-air, I never doubted
the next branch would be there.
The day she dragged me down, I never
doubted the next up, despite the marble
weight of the hand on the back of my neck.
She began to scrub; I thought
of how pine needles tickled along
my belly. My fur collected on the shiny
floor; I saw their dried husks blanketing
the cold ground. It wasn’t until she broke
skin that I started to shrink. The walls
of the shower rose up around me;
raw, shivering, I cried like a wild thing.
Ellie White holds a BA in English from The Ohio State University, and is currently an MFA candidate at Old Dominion University. Her poems have been published in Antiphon Poetry Magazine and Melancholy Hyperbole, as well as other journals. She currently lives among mermaids in Norfolk, Virginia.