Stephanie Dickinson


          POM POM GIRLS

As homegrown as the marching band they line up in front of

these heartland beauties—Czech, Mexican, Norwegian—whose

great-grandparents indentured themselves for a buckboard

wagon and ten acres, sodbreakers flinching at the roots of

the prairie grass snapping like gunshots, shake their wounded

bouquets of crepe paper before the trumpets and snare drums.


And they kick, knee high, waist high, small-town princesses

in blood-red cancans, and obsidian black panties, like the bits of

flint used to carve out the hearts of Aztec sacrificial victims,

under the Wildcat Banner they march harder, white booted,

showing off their legs to the tight upper thigh, kicking into the

klieg lights, just as those in the stands rise and their voices ignite,


Fight fight…for all of this the prairie forgets the hurt of being

broken, the passenger pigeons and Sac Indians forgive their

own extinction, the Swede meatpackers are gladdened by the

insanity brought on by slitting the bellies of endless cows for

five cents an hour…fight you Wildcats, we will cheer for you.

And they try to kick high as their heads feeling almost divine


for haven’t these cars come to honk in their honor, and aren’t

they like Virgins of the Sun blessing the field, their forebears

not cancan chanteuses or belly dancers, but the Inca mountain

girls given by their fathers to become goddesses, dressed in rich weaves

and buried alive, the corn tossed into each new-made fire.

Someday the girl on the end will confess her kicks aren’t even


pale imitations of Moulin Rouge, only a yearning to be pure

winged, a feathery thing of leg and pivot, all pizzicati and split,

acrobatic prowess wedded to audacious rhythms, the beautiful best,

but knowing in her bones she’s no lacy knickers to be slicked

onto pages of Victoria Secrets, no Madame Pompadour

with her box paper covering the hole in her sole, the polish


running off her boots like top cream, and her mother does not

come to watch but throws up chore-hardened hands at this

flaunting that will lead only to the backseat of a parked car and

the football player placing her daughter’s hand on his groin, and

then letting him enter the wild beast of her cunt, and destiny

is not to be slain, but to marry a name like Delwin, Arlen, Verlet.

Copyright © 2003 Stephanie Dickinson.  All Rights Reserved.

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