Reality and the Rhino


For K.K.J. with apologies

I am worried about the fact that yesterday when
I Googled a certain poet and found an image, plain,
white-haired, middle aged, I decided I wouldn’t
like her before I’d read any poem she’d ever written,
and if this is who I’ve become, then my recent obsession
with “The Real Housewives of New York City,”
may not be a sign of the Apocalypse, but a sign that
I am reverting to type, and should stop pretending

at depth and just paddle along the slick shallow end
of the wading pool with ‘The Real Housewives,’ in their
over-stuffed, vanilla, Park Avenue apartments, with their
dinky dogs and drivers, and the occasional drunken brawl
to tangle up our Bergdorf blow-outs. Because, why not?

Except for the charity. All ‘The Housewives’ have it.
Can’t throw a fundraiser in a penthouse, townhouse, or
converted flophouse without it. Then it’s all about charity
parity, who-gave-what-to-whom in the bowl. For the checks.
In the big glass box, ninety stories up and over the island
of Manhattan. And if you like stories,

this is the place to be because in reality, it’s only
got seventy-two. Stories that is. But ninety sounds so
much better when you’re breaking the sound barrier
just to get a drink and a dry canapé. Charity is thirsty
work but coming up short? That’s my kinda party.
Why do I long for the glamourous lie, the chummy
luxury of ignorance, when I know that

today, or tomorrow, someone who calls me their mother
will go out for a walk and bag themselves a wounded rhino,
who will think nothing of charging through the kitchen,
goring bystanders and ‘Real Housewives alike,’ in their royal
blue satin Louboutin pumps, straight through their limited
edition camel crocodile Birkin bags?

And when this day arrives, will I open my mouth to sooth
the savage creature of misspent youth? To find the phrase
to ease the narcotic plague of first-ever love? Or will I choke.
On the charity I refused to swallow, the dreams I let wither
along with my face, and the time after time I have tried and
failed and failed, but still made the coffee, packed the lunches,
drove to the school with claws retracted, made nicey-nice as
the taste of blood filled my mouth?

Because this poet waiting on the other side, with her
barefaced excellent poems, understands about reality. How it
won’t be denied. How the blister you get from a five-inch stiletto
bursts the same as the one you get from crawling on your knees,
praying for deliverance and the strength to accept the charity
for yourself, and for ‘The Real Housewives,’ who really love
their dinky dogs, and fear getting old, and still need the paycheck.
And charity for the rhino, who was shielding her kids when she
was shot in the ass.

And who will sit all night at the foot of the bed, with greying hair,
and unfilled wrinkles, in comfortable shoes, and forgive us the fact
that we’re only young once, and if we get lucky we can have even
this, this plain unglamorous reality, this unvarnished glory that
waits for us all.


Mia Sara is an actress and poet living in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in PANK, Cultural Weekly, The Kit Kat Review, Forge, The Dirty Napkin, St. Ann’s Review, and others. For more please visit:

  • Ah, my adored Mia! Your world, your unique perceptions, here, in the pages of PANK. So fitting. So fine! Brava!