Engineering Ginger

Joan McBride

We’re finalizing Ginger today,
putting on the finishing touches
and running through the check list.
The eyes are now green and clear,
the nose straightened, and
face-lift done.
Hair color? Between
platinum blonde and golden —
she wants hair so bright and reflective
it will knock a bird out of the sky.
Notice how the new veneers
make her teeth
as bright as headlights on
the corvette about to run you down.
And the Parisian Slingshot lipstick
jumps from her lips.

The new identification cards arrived: a library card,
blood donor tag, and cat rescue membership,
ready to go in a new change purse —
the kind that snaps shut.

She is almost ready.
A new name and new look.  A new way
to walk out at night.

Let’s build a story:
First, she wants to be a slut. Check
Mysterious. Check
Absolutely no history. Check
Drinks until dawn. Check
Loves pain killers. Check
And isn’t that what this was all about;
assembling a person who is not
scuffed by sorrow.
The kind that coughs up blood
from lungs fried in grief.
The kind that causes the heart to stall
when encountering accidental deposits of memory:
A used glucose strip
The tiny glass pig
Any Beatles’ song
A backpack full of books
A cookie with pink frosting.

Ginger is done,
ready to wander through her slutty days,
smoking a porcelain cigarette,
winking at some of the boys
and all of the girls.
When she takes out her green contacts,
her brown eyes are so dry
they need artificial tears.

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