I want to be allowed to be Snow White
dainty while walking down
the street at midnight, but the city never
forgets to bring me back down to earth, says keep
an attitude as crude as our erratic streets.
It’s history. Deep South city ports
have been inviting the dirt
under their fingernails for centuries
and their descendants like to prey after sunset.
And so we are women constantly
balancing our duality: tiptoeing on thin
heel sandals, applying our lipstick, mascara
like a queen, sipping a cocktail or holding
our liquor, smiling sweetly at a wink–
but Southern Belles along the crescent river
also gotta wear barbed wire like a sheer blouse,
walking tall, shoulders squared, fight
face ready with a soft sparkle under eye shadow.
Looking pretty. Being deadly.
Acting like a lady with a pinch of bad ass
while surviving murder capital.