Boy Shoes

By the time I splashed along a creek among the pollywogs and muck
Cigar box stuffed with dead stink bugs tucked under my arm
Lizard in my hand on its back while I stroked its dragon silk belly
While I whittled and gutted trout with my jack knife
I liked being a Tomboy

My older sister was a girl
Would sit in front of her pink plastic vanity
Smile at her reflection in the shiny aluminum stick-on mirror
She tried to teach me to bat my eyes and wink coyly
To become the kind of woman a man would want to fill with babies
It pained my face, put sand in my eyes

Before I sprouted boobs, my friend and I dressed up in glamorous clothes
Green eye shadow smeared clear to my brows
False eye lashes glued to each lid, fake fur tickling my chin
As I swayed from side-to-side to mimic the sexy hip rocking
That real girls make look effortless
My leather mini skirt barely held its place on my plank body
Arms stiff, lightly raised from my sides
Outriggers to keep me from capsizing
I hobbled the mile to Telegraph Avenue in stiletto black pumps
My feet ached, but I felt like a real woman, sexy and beguiling
Outside the Cafe Med we sipped our cappuccinos
Stuck out our pinky fingers as we lifted the cups
Paused mid-sip, so everyone could admire our beauty
How we were things to gaze upon, to desire

A drifter looked at me slowly from head to toe and back again
He smiled
My poofed-up wig itched my head, but I liked the way it softened my square jaw
I felt as female as I’d ever felt

‘You look like a drag queen’, he said

Sometimes it only takes one sentence to kill a fantasy

In high school, I studied how to be a girl
Hung around the bathroom, chattered about boys
Pretended I had cramps
No matter what I did I was a natural at being a boy
Was cast in male parts for plays
The old Chinese servant man in The Dragon Lady’s Revenge
Fleance in Macbeth, young boy who survives by running away
My girl-tits bound in bandages for every show

I gave up on the theatre after that

I can still hear Banquo yelling
‘Fly, good Fleance fly, fly, fly!’
And the sound of my boy shoes
Slapping against stone

Rebecca Fish Ewan


Rebecca Fish Ewan is a poet/cartoonist/founder of Plankton Press. Her work appears in After the Art, Brevity, Crab Fat, Hip Mama, Mutha, TNB, Punctuate and Under the Gum Tree. A zinester who teaches landscape design at Arizona State University. Her publications include two books and chapbook: A Land Between, By the Forces of Gravity and Water Marks.

© 2019