Aaron DeLee

Selfie: High Ridin’ Woman

But if someone could break her
And take her whip away –
Someone big, someone strong, someone tall –
You may find that the woman with a whip
Is only just a woman after all. (Repeat and fade.)

from “High Ridin’ Woman,” lyrics by Harold Adamson  as sung by The Sons of the Pioneers, 1957

But then you may find that she has nails
xxxxxxxxxxxxpainted with blood-red polish, sharpened
to stick into your sides, mince your in-
xxxxxxxxxxxxsides with when words can’t quite cut
it; and you may find that she has high-
xxxxxxxxxxxxheels whose serrated stilettos are capable
of slicing open even the most calloused
xxxxxxxxxxxxman. And then you may find that the whip
was just an extension of herself, ready
xxxxxxxxxxxxto snap at those who opposed her – you
must admit that there’s a bit of crazy
xxxxxxxxxxxxpent-up in everyone of us, tucked into
the skintight latex that won’t breathe,
xxxxxxxxxxxxthat barely bends. Don’t you dare cross
her path in an alley on a dark night.
xxxxxxxxxxxxWhat you see may be a pitch black
oil slick, but she’s about to ignite; won’t
xxxxxxxxxxxxyou be surprised when she unzips
her spine and her breasts of birdseed
xxxxxxxxxxxxspill out; you may find that the woman
with a whip is only just a man
xxxxxxxxxxxxwho wanted to be someone
buxom, someone heroic, strikingly tall.


Aaron DeLee graduated from Northwestern University with an MFA in Creative Writing in 2013.  His poems have appeared in Court Green, Assaracus, Rougarou, and various other publications.  When he’s not writing, or practicing vigilante justice, he’s often running along the shore of Lake Michigan.