Cinderella at Cavenders Western Wear
by Katherine Hoerth

She was enchanted by the leather scent,
the endless aisles, shelves with everything
a princess of the Rio Grande Valley
could wish for, hats, belt buckles, cowboy boots
in every color, style, shape, and size.

A handsome salesman offered his assistance --
herded her into the ladies’ section
awash in pastel shades and sparkling rhinestones.
I know exactly what you’re looking for.

He pulled a pair of boots off from the shelf
for her to try with pointed toes, high heels,
pink and purple daisies on the sides.
She kicked a slipper off. He knelt before her,
wedged her foot into the flashy boot,
but it resisted, rubbed against the sides
no matter how he twisted, shoved, or heaved.
Her feet, in truth, were wider than expected.

Once he disappeared to fetch a larger
size, the clearance rack called out to her.
She spied a pair of russet cowboy boots –
a little plain to look at -- sturdy, rugged --
the opposite of everything she was.

Her foot slinked in. She took a mighty step,
delighted in the way the leather felt,
that she could leave the cobblestone paved streets
and tread through any thicket she desired.

Those boots were made for men,
the salesman said
when he returned, the pair of dainty boots
cradled in his arms. She flashed her teeth --

I can’t resist a fairy tale fit.

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