I always did want to be Nancy Drew—
think, to be that perfect girl with perfect titian hair,
the perfect powder-blue convertible,
to have two trust-worthy (yet not-quite-as-pretty) friends.
But then, to have the cute boyfriend, the daddy lawyer
and still to continually, with no true hesitation,
seek out the mysterious, the dangerous?
She did have everything, didn’t she? Smart, pretty.
She belonged in the best college, the best sorority,
not skulking in a moss-covered mansion or an old attic.
I think there is something dark in Drew.
I mean, a girl who, if tied, knows how to clasp her hands together
so she can free them, is a girl who has more
than a nodding acquaintance with bondage,
who knows more than she lets on.
But maybe Nancy needed a reckless man,
one with a motorcycle—not that androgynous, blonde Ned,
all chaste pecks and letterman’s jacket.
Maybe, though, Nancy really wanted to fill up the abandoned
and decaying, where she would wind up, alone,
again and again—in the caves, the towers,
or maybe, really it was all about her dead mother,
and she was trying to pull the emptiness in—
the swirl of air, dankness—by learning it,
by throwing herself into what, in actuality, terrified her.
But whatever it is, tell me
that a girl who’s always using her beautiful, slender fingers
to creak open doors, carry heavy flashlights
all to illuminate cob-webbed corners, abandoned passageways,
tell me she is happy with her life.
Originally published in The Antioch Review, Vol. 62, Issue 2.
Also published in the Java Monkey Speaks anthology.