Freshly Revised

Rodeo Blondes

I never aspired to barrel racing or calf roping,
but each female silence splinters off from itself,
blistering my cheek, which makes me wonder
if I shouldn't just bleach my hair.
All such wizened afterthoughts I call rodeo blondes.

D. says nobody can make you feel anything,
unless you will it. In which case,
conversations with Father that shut me out
are me willing myself to feel abandoned.
Troops of spurs thunder in the narthex.

In the choir stalls at St. Paul's by-the-Lake church,
I sit waiting to sing through the propers, my surplice yellowed,
cassock too broad through the shoulders. My eyes force open
with the guts of the pipe organ,
wheezing awake Sunday morning before Mass.

Stale bellows air bleats forth like a she-goat – I always fall for it.
She wouldn't fall but run deftly her course of figure 8s and snakes.
This rodeo blonde digs her heels in;
another genuflects, demure: not for inferiority before men,
but reverence before God.

Another erred and the error of her way
spilled across the lap of a priest: a crude pietá.
D. would say that I'm teaching myself to fall
for the clergy, but honestly, I always thought
the pietá strangely erotic. Or ironic. One of these.

One blonde visits me just before I wake fully.
Her voice never cracks, even before noon;
She rides him down every aria, the fat friar
who huffs that a woman's body is simply
not made for such things as require consecrating.

Everything about his diatribes fruit and flowers
and I want to shout: Eden is over – you lost!
but can only laugh at the Lord in disbelief,
loose a muffled whoop into my hymnbook
and await the processional bells.


I've been working on this one a while, if only because I've been in love with the concept of melding rodeo with high church. Admittedly, I should be having more fun with the juxtaposition. But, I shall confer with my associates on the morrow regarding further maiming.


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