Leota would send a note warning that she’d
put something in the mail and we waited.
She was a distant relative who never visited,
but she had girls older than us. Soon a big
cardboard box arrived filled with pleated
wool skirts and pastel sweaters; good school
clothes, all store-bought. Leota’s girls must
have lived in town. My older sister wore them
first and finally passed them down to me.
After that, I saved them for good, imagining
I came from a better family, an impostor trying
to pass for someone prettier, or at least less
awkward. Even now, I don’t dress myself,
wearing my hair like the young mare with
the cowlick that sets her untidy mane at odd
angles, never willing to behave. Marching with
big clomping strides on borrowed hooves.
Squinting to see the world through that bay
horse’s proud dark eye. Forever trying to fit
into the old gelding’s hand-me-down spots.
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
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