Annie Oakley’s Spring Showdown
by Margaret Dornaus


Without question, she was the cutest girl in the history
of Robert E. Lee Elementary—dressed as she was
in her tasseled skirt and vest, her matching hat, fringed
brim and chin-strap, her two-toned, cowhide boots covering

her child feet, her child legs. No wonder she was chosen
to demonstrate how to draw a silhouette at high noon

on the vernal equinox. We rolled the butcher paper flat
out on the grassless playground. Stepped back for her to mount
the ribbon of white and stand stock-still while we calculated
the precise direction of the Oklahoma sun and held black magic

markers at the ready, one by one sketching the outline of her
shadow—her hat, her hair—her long blonde pigtails plaited

before sending her off that morning to learn what she might
learn that day: How to pose without moving. How to be
the quiet center of attention. How to transform her childlike
self into a Wild West goddess. Commanding our admiration

without uttering a single word. Without ever drawing her gun.






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