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.
Katie Manning (she/her) is the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of Tasty Other, which won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and her fifth chapbook, 28,065 Nights, is newly available from River Glass Books. Her poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, The Lascaux Review, MORIA, TAB, Thimble, and many other venues.