Rita and I are Mystery Sisters, buoyant on the porch, taking turns
being Little Elk, make-believing we’re savvy. Our game,
equal parts Saturday Westerns and Christmas outfits
is fake six-shooters, leatherette belts, tight-tooled boots.
We sweat under our almost-buckskin. We suffer our fake Stetsons.
Rita and I are blood tight, ride Schwinn stallions.
We reckon the neighbors are dirty outlaws. Rita and I know
the woman’s part isn’t well written or exciting. We know no real cowgirl
would retreat to her room and wait for the final duet while some
dumb boy in chaps had all the adventure. We’re sure no sane Mystery Sis
would learn to bake or listen for the grumble of a chopped and channeled
hot rod in the driveway to begin her big night.
So we linger through the end of a decade, demi-heroes in plastic
and fake hawk feathers, waiting for gunshots, for what comes next.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.
Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 5, is now online. Yeah, you heard right…, Issue 5. We’re shifting our new volume year to begin in April starting in 2017. For now, enjoy a special BONUS issue to Volume 18 with new poems by Laura Falsetti, Sara Henning, Elizabeth Onusko, Alyssa Jewell, John A. Nieves, Hayden Saunier, Wendy Drexler, Wendy Taylor Carlisle, Alina Borger, Sarah Carleton, Allyson Jeffredo, Wendy DeGroat, Charlotte Covey, Judith Montgomery, Carmen Germain, and Christopher Citro. Stay tuned later in the month for new reviews by Jeff Whitney and Barbara L. Estrin.
I was a kid when we hit Mile-High suburbs, carcasses of Winnebagos
strung out behind us on the plains, the mile-long gas lines coming in view.
Doubt ate me like flowers. I’d seen the scalded girl, the jungle on fire.
I asked, what is there to fight for? What explains this warfare?
Shush, said Aunt Bet, you think you’re better than the VFWs?
Wait’ll you get grown. What did I know then about old GIs
in semi-transparent shirts, dancing Saturday night away under
a tarnished mirror-ball? Let the Marines be good citizens, I answered,
I’d rather be naked. No uniform suits me. In Denver, I dreamed
of soldiers, dreamed of my gentle, demented mother driving into town in
a scrounged-up travel-trailer. Someone else’s predicate centered my paragraphs.
Someone else’s day made up my mystery. Adult answers didn’t satisfy
once I discovered grown-up was just another war
on a field I didn’t recognize, once I saw my skin was useless armor.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 5.