Not all eyes are on Dolly
when ten muscle-bound men in gold
loincloths carry her litter with asp arm
rests through Dollywood. White linen
with a jeweled shawl and ochre stenciled in
diamond bites on her cheek draw card
riffle shutter clicks. A fan of blue
ostrich feathers commands her gleaming men
move faster. Halfway out the exit gate
a boy squeezes in, hand up, and Dolly leans
down, beads in her straight Egyptian
hair swinging, for a quick, careful palm press.
*"Cleoparton" was first published in The Broad River Review and in Powers's full-length poetry collection, The Follower's Tale.
Stephen Roger Powers (he/his) is the author of three poetry collections published by Salmon Poetry and Highway Speed, a collection of short stories. Other work has appeared in 32 Poems, Shenandoah, The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume V: Georgia, Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems. He was an extra in Joyful Noise with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, and he can be seen if you know just where to look.