Asexual Ode to Dolly Parton
That summer I listened to Jolene six
times every time I got in the car & I sang
along hard enough to believe it, that it
was as simple as there always being an other
waiting, flame-haired, spring-breathed, to take
the one I wanted to call mine only. As if
the problem wasn’t my longing. Lack thereof.
& there was so much longing locked into
Dolly’s looping curls. I thought if I loud-sang
enough, hard-listened enough, I could learn it.
How to woman myself the way everyone wanted
me to. O Dolly, patron saint of shoulder fringe
& sequins, high priestess of Lee Press Ons
& hairspray, how long your longing held me,
summer-voiced, soft enough to show me
how every kind of love’s a force that sends you
to your knees, begging, even if I couldn’t love –
again – in a way I could make any other understand.