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Lady Jordan

The Mrs. Files looks at history through a contemporary lens to see what the honorific “Mrs.” means to women and their identity.

It didn’t matter that I married the game

or slept with a ball under my arm, Mom said

Girls don’t hoop, they wear hoops. And around here,

vecinas chirped: it’s always “¿Y tú novio?” season. But beauty

is a finger roll. A backdoor cut on the blacktop. A fadeaway

jump shot, two seconds left on the clock. So what mattered was Danny

talkin’ smack, even though his teeth were out of order. This isn’t the only history,

but is the history of everything: the neighborhood boys

who shot crooked, never learned my name, so I played them

Twenty-one, turned their ankles to jello,

made their backs kiss the floor, until they donned me

Lady Jordan, and who wouldn’t take that. Though I’ve never been

ladylike, I wore that rusted metal rim like a ring,

and slipped my bones through the net like a perfect white dress—

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