Shirley the Unicorn

Shirley the Unicorn:

Lies about her email address.
Hates rainbows.
Doesn’t eat fish.
Never thanks anyone.

Once plagiarized the slogan,

always be yourself,
unless you can be a unicorn,
then always be a unicorn.

Is no longer flattered
by seeing little girls
with portraits of her knitted into
their shirts, socks and backpacks,
by Saturday morning cartoons
on PBS,
airbrushed velvet paintings,
mystics and psychics
calling her by name.

They’ve got it all wrong.

She is much shorter than that.

Her horn is arthritic and misshapen;
it hasn’t been polished in years.

She rarely bathes anymore.

And even though her mane
was golden many decades ago,
it is now rust orange
and tangled beyond repair,
her hairbrush is lost under stacks of
unread magazines
with titles like The Modern Unicorn,
which once featured her
as its centerfold,

her keratin spiral glistening erect
in manicured anticipation.

Shirley stops eating
just long enough to fart.

She’s thinking about the night
she spent with Pegasus,
what it would be like
to have wings like his,
a body thriving on water and light,

to care
about anything at all.