Flashing eyes dating back to the days of that Yellow Rose and the Alamo.
Long legs in tiny pointed high heels that extend up to the
top of the Miss America runway…
There She is Miss TEXAS.
Her East Texas drawl reflects
the lazy spines where pine trees and traditions
merge to form a shadowy unity;
The Border beauty generous
with her warm brown hertitage
that she fiercely represents;
The South Texas belle courted
from Houston to Beaumont
who knows reality flows
from the recesses of the deep black wells.
The West Texas woman
hardened by winds driving skeletal tumbleweeds
across the vast expanses
to her flowerless, paint-scarred door.
The Dallas Girl wants for nothing
but a new Mercedes and a Hermes scarf to match.
The Fort Worth Girl, from TCU
learns her culture more modestly
and then underwrites the Metropolitan Opera
in her Grand Dame hood.
The Houston Girl wilts more
with every summer, finally
abandoning allergies and smog,
leaves for Paris…France, original haute couture.
In the provinces–Lubbock, Wichita Falls,
Plainview, Waco, Corpus, and Amarillo–
she preserves the customs and
plans the celebrations,
(harvest weekends, orchestra festivals)
and weaves the legacy of the land
into the fabric of the city.
Even now “small town girls”
still love the country, and wish everyone
who graduated with them had stayed
and kept the town the same as high school and try,
Like their grandmothers tried,
to make things “nice” in hard times,
like their great grandmothers
who made the farm work, …the ranch pay
by staking out the land, holding on with clenched fists.
an amalgam of generations,
weathered and tested;
bringing in crops, cooking meals
for thirty hands, branding cattle.
Waiting–for phones to ring–
by cars and in them–for lovers, husbands, children–
for weather–and time–to pass;
in offices, in beauty parlors,
in salons and saloons, in theaters and courtrooms–
for them to do what
she could have done in five,
ten at the most.
Confident when she feels afraid;
brash in a confusing situation;
demure when she feels like screaming;
demanding when she wants to hide;
counseling others when she’s unsure;
full of answers to questions never asked;
and then at a loss for the ultimate reason why.
© Gay Reiser Cannon. All Rights Reserved