Dear Dolly Parton, I too wanted

to be too much—over-glossed, candy-coated, hair teased to heaven,

heels high, hemline higher, up-to-there, overwhelming the senses

with my existence. I saw your photo on the wall of the Stampede

on my first family trip to Branson and I thought, ​there she is.

Unapologetic. Looming. Blonde and bedazzled. You cracked open

the dirty look, the whisper, the write-off, and dared to be unashamed.

Richest cheap girl ever came from that town. Decide to be beautiful

and you are. Glitter, sequins, a hint of feather. A hint? Never just a hint.

What little girls want is to grow up and get seen. To shine, sparkle, clack.

In Mississippi, I outran the boys, outfought the boys, outclimbed the boys—

up trees and up the ladder. In my head, you, the country girl’s best idea

of glamour. And now? You, in my head, nails tap-tapping. I flick

the glitter liner around my eyes for you, Dolly. I lay back and shimmy. I zip

my thigh-high boots up with pliers. I go out and get it, Dolly.

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Anna Sandy-Elrod

Pronouns: She/Her

1 Poem

Dear Dolly Parton, I too wanted

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Anna Sandy-Elrod (she/her) is a poet and occasional essayist. She is currently a PhD candidate at Georgia State University and the Editor of Birdcoat Quarterly. Her work can be found in the North American Review, Threepenny Review, Green Mountains Review, Fugue, Iron Horse, and other journals. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, three cats, and one tiny dog. 

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