Dolly, When I Met You There Was Peace
Your songs were my earliest islands.
I learned to set a small needle gently in
between black vessels, to sail away on the
intertwined voices and leave the stream
of sadness behind. Then there was that
summer my sisters and I watched (no, that is
not the word) belted along with you what
we heard from the screen each day when we
alternated Rhinestone Cowboy
with Mary Poppins.
then and now, you’ve been almost perfect:
you mail books to millions of kids,
denounce racism with a smile (“Do we
think our little white asses
are the only ones that matter?”),
how you can also be
my island, a place where I can’t be wrong
and everything is nothing for a while. I still sail
with you sometimes when I need to get away,
back to my grandparents’ house, back with
that record player, back, somehow, to me.