Nicole LeDonna needs only a little warmth: To Buy a Coat

To Buy a Coat

by Nicole LeDonna


A revolving door, Macy’s Herald Square.

It’s cold.

Nothing fits. My clothes don’t fit.

I have gas.

I mantra– I am so fat. So alone.


It’s cold and the icy air bites my ankles.

I try to wear nice shoes

Leather slip-ons.

They are too thin, too narrow.

I can only wear nylons with them.

Weird, scratchy things.


The day darkens.

I need a coat.

A $130.00 wool striped coat

With detachable cape.

It’s weird.

It’s warm.

I want to look like the kind of girl

Who can wear it.


Not like the horse in a blanket

I am when I wore the plaid

Wool coat in high school.


The door revolves- I wait for someone.

Am I?

I pretend to be.

I wait.

I want. I want.


Beneath this, the rumbling, the river of words.

Does every little girl’s father rape her?

They must.

Mustn’t they?

Don’t all little girls walk with

Crippling cramps in the abdomen,

Shooting star pain in the anus.

Tight inner thighs, chronic now,

Squeeze him out, keep him away.

Don’t they? Don’t they?


Swallowed sounds, syllables, words.

So much easier to swallow



Inhibit the urge, propulsion to expel

Sound, syllable, word.

Much easier to swallow


Handfuls, gobfuls, garbagecansful.


Nothing gets out.

No purge.

No words.

No sound.

No meaning.


The door revolves.

I go into the store.

I am out of the store.


My mother will pay some.

But why a hood? A shawl?

Why not something more youthful?

And, when I needed more, something else,

“I gave you money for a coat.”


Because it was cold, the winter set in,

I needed a coat or so I told myself.

I earned $120.00 a week before tax.

I paid a therapist $75.00 a week.

I paid rent, $250.00 a month. $350.00?


Weeks later

Into the store.

The coat is out of season.

The coat is on sale.

I save $50.00.

It will last longer since

I froze my ass off for most of the winter.


I have no needs.

I have no wants.

I am nothing.

I need nothing.

I disappear.

Those who know anything about NatalieWood know that Macy's Santa treated her much better on screen than her own parents did off screen.
Those who know anything about Natalie Wood know that Macy’s Santa treated her much better on screen than her own parents did off screen.

10 thoughts on “Nicole LeDonna needs only a little warmth: To Buy a Coat

  1. Grant says:

    Almost too painful to read it again, but again I must! Everyone should read this!! So very good, so very sad. Thank you for this excellent work, Nicole — yes, I am ready!

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    “To Buy a Coat” changed quicker and quicker in my mind from a snowball rolled to a rounded snow boulder lined with sharp rocks as it rolled and bounced back and forth across the snowy chilled mountain of cyber page at me screaming louder and louder with each stanza and line. This poem exposes the landscape and rapes the beneath the surface with an undeniable force and pending crash offering no escape from the cold nor fair life. Powerful laments of fright and helplessness to change the course of the snow boulder’s path.

  3. Michael Stang says:

    For the abused among us, there are so many we will never know, your poetry is triumphant. We see the damage done and in the end “I disappear” like the thousands out there trying to make it through to something else, anything but the past.
    Tragic, classic, beautiful. Welcome to the sight.

  4. Sheri Strobaugh says:

    I will buy you a coat. Such a tragic, true to life story that makes us all want wash away the horrific things that happen to these poor children. Excellent job. I can’t wait to read more of your work.

  5. Monica Brinkman says:

    What a roller coaster of emotions you take the reader, for what first embraces a sad overweight individual swiftly turns to the hidden reason of being overweight; to hide and push down the horrid experiences and abuse placed upon the child.
    This is excellent and captures the pain, loss and sorrow.

  6. Susan Brittain says:

    Thank you for this heart wrenching piece of innocence lost and the constant battle to keep our head above water just to breathe.

  7. Pamela Sampel says:

    Wow. Stunning. Such power and wrenching honesty and clarity. Thank you for sharing your story. It stays with me…

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