Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Princess Leia on the Back Deck Blues

It was the same each weekend
growing up in the suburbs
acting out our favorite stories.

I was the only girl in the group
so I never got to be Han
or Luke
or Darth

I was always Leia
which could have worked
if we ever got past the first half hour
of the movie

But Dan was Luke and his brother was Han
and our neighbor was Darth
and I spent all my time,
up on his back deck, waiting
to be rescued
watching them fight it out,
watching their plastic Kmart
lightsabers smack in the yard below
watching the bees pollinate the flowers
budding on the trees
watch the birds overhead cut clean lines through the clouds
watch my neighbor’s mother
vacuum the carpet, the television blaring.

Years from now I will live
long enough to see girls
holding lightsabers
but that seems not just unlikely
but impossible
in this 1988 summer day
the boys crowing in the yard below me.

Me and Princess Leia
waiting to be rescued
knowing it was never coming
slowing growing bored
and heading home for lunch
knowing the boys down below
fighting the empire
would never even notice
that there
was no princess left to save.

--Ally Malinenko

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