Mystery Sisters
by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

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.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Ozark Mountains. Her two books are Reading Berryman to the Dog (Jacaranda Press, 2000) and Discount Fireworks (Jacaranda Press, 2008.) Read more about her work at

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