American Blonde (Endless Loop) by Kathryn Kulpa

"Trashy Lingerie." Oil by Nicola Wood.

You see me everywhere but I don’t see myself. Smiling across your breakfast table. Apron tied at my waist. Smell that pumpkin pie. Kiss that dusting of flour from my nose. Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven!

I’m the angel in your house, until I’m not.

* * *

Sometimes when I’m alone in my room at night I’m afraid to look in the mirror. If there’s no one to see me will I disappear? I’m afraid there is no I.
There is.

I capture myself. A blonde girl posing. Fierce face. Duck face. I snap shot. I snap chat. I’m a snappy dresser. I picture myself. I exist.

I exist in duplicate. I double your pleasure. I double your fun. I exist in triplicate. I’m three faces of Eve. I’m a bevy of beauties. I’m Girls, Girls, Girls! I am large, I contain multitudes. My name is legion, for I am many. Good blonde, bad blonde. Born blonde, bottle blonde. I’m a blonde bombshell. That’s my portrait on the bomber. That’s my pin-up on your footlocker. The wind lifts my skirt a puppy lifts my skirt a fence post lifts my skirt the breeze from a subway grating lifts my skirt and there I am, startled, my mouth a sweet pink O of surprise.

Oh, Mr. Plumber, I’m in an awful jam!

* * *

I’m just a hometown girl. The girl our boys are fighting for. I’m your manifest destiny. For me you cleared the forests. For me you shot the buffalo. For me you killed the Indians. All of this you lay at my feet, and I did worship you.

I’m watching from the distance as you ride away. A blonde woman in a blue dress standing alone against the prairie. I’m framed in Panorama, in CinemaScope, a telescope lens, a rifle sight. You can’t see the tears in my eyes or the rage in my heart. You ride away. I’m a blonde woman waving. Smaller and smaller. Your horizon widens but I’m always the same. You will come back for me. You will.

* * *

Kathryn Kulpa is the flash fiction editor for Cleaver Magazine. Her short fiction and prose poetry has been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Silver Birch Press and Literary Orphans.

This is the debut of “American Blonde (Endless Loop),” which will appear in Kathryn’s forthcoming chapbook, “Girls on Film” (Paper Nautilus Press).