I coveted the Wranglers my brother worewhen we played outside—durable denimseat impervious to rocks, sticks, glass shardsunearthed when we scooted toward the stream,worn knees grass-dyed lucent chartreuse,pockets deep enough to hold his morning finds—bumboozers, bottlecaps, buckeyes—treasureI had to secure in the dirty hem of my skirt—what “ladies” wore to church, to play, to schoolwhere other girls arrived each Septemberin Lees with pleats and pink pinstripes.But they’re pink! My rebuttal when my fatherdefended his edict with Deuteronomy 22:5,declared jeans are for boys, refusedeven my plea to try on one pair, just to see,to take on each lean leg like I’d watchedmy friends do, ease them over calves, knees,shimmy past thighs, hips, around my waist;look over my shoulder; discover curvesblossoming indigo; a woman in the glassreflecting why he always said no. [End Page 115]
Catherine Pritchard Childress lives in East Tennessee where she teaches writing and literature at East Tennessee State University and Northeast State Community College. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in North American Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review, Still: The Journal, The Cape Rock, Town Creek Poetry, drafthorse, Stoneboat, Kaimana, and Kudzu, and has been anthologized in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee.