“How to Unflap a Flapper” by Leslie Cairns

Step 1: Take your shorn hair, barrette the sides with glimmer, the way you want to be a mermaid, tails extended, breaking hearts with the trines meant for your father–

Step 2: Grow it out if you want, under arms that feel like silk turned forest, wear the garters for the sapphic lovers of your visions: I grab her hair, I unfurl it gently, braid it and put it in my lips, for safekeeping.

Step 3: Evacuate the premises, make it full of women. Hearts on hearts on curves on flutters, there’s a secret password that screams in pink eyed honey stripes, in devouring candy hearts, in kissing girls only for their sadness–

Step 4: Put the goldfish back in bowls; make the bars close just for stilettos. We click on hate, on hate, on hate, until the word shatters into bits that do not matter. Until we feel safe, staying out late, until the clock strikes back from depression, back into the Daisy Party of my daydreams (lilac, hazy, doldrums plucked with daisies–)

Step 5:  Wear the short dress, disco ball on skin. The feathered headbands march in tune with our kisses, and I pulse your shoulders into fins, and we glisten into moisture of kindnesses, delivered in kisses round your ring fingers–

Step 6: We do not race cars, we do not worry about the fedoras, and the canes, and the old money. We make our own fate, and we changed the game, and we’d do it all over, again, unchanged.

Step 7: It’s 1920, or it’s 2020, and we are locked down by the way we make ourselves small.

We will fashion forward our desires, we will pluck off all our worries, threadbare and hereafter–

Find me where we knock twice, telling passwords meant just for us, on 

lips that are shaded red, pearled tight, with words that matter.

Leslie Cairns holds an MA degree in English Rhetoric. She is a Pushcart Prize Nomination for 2022 in the Short Story category (‘Owl, Lunar, Twig’). She was an honorable mention in Flash 405’s call in Exposition Review (2022). Leslie has upcoming flash, short stories, and poetry in various magazines. Twitter: starbucksgirly

Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

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