Cartoon Character (or Not)

by Yvonne Higgins Leach

No man ever told her she couldn’t do it herself.
Nor did the female cartoon characters who
gleamed on the screen. Even Olive Oyl ate spinach.
With the same superhuman strength, she beat
every boy in the 100-yard dash in the 7th grade.
She never questioned in high school the potential
of her mind. AP Chem. AP Physics.
AP Math. She was Velma leading Scooby Doo
and the gang to the crook behind the mask.
Finding independence in college, she explored
sexuality, politics, and religion. Like Wonder Woman
she reconciled the various competing parts of herself.


It’s fifteen years later and the plot twist is:
she and her husband pull weeds
in the backyard as their 6-year-old
throws a ball. When he runs to get it
the husband yells: Don’t run like a girl!
She feels her insides whip up a force field,
and the warrior power of the Avatar universe
pulses through her body. She stands up
as Suki and kicks her husband’s ass.


Yvonne Higgins Leach is the author of a collection of poems called Another Autumn. A full-time poet, she splits her time between Vashon Island and Spokane, Washington. For more information, visit

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