The hall of the Scottish Rite Temple bops
with swing, one hip cat
singing beneath a fedora
backed by five guys named Joe.
The dancers, fluid,
float like a wisp of fog beneath crystal sparkles.
My feet are too carefree, never having learned
the confines of set dance beyond mandatory waltz.
No swing. No west coast. No jitterbug.
I am sent back;
blonde hair, apple
pale skin, peach
glistening smile); we dance
movement to movement, hips to hips, connected
at the eyes. We were so young.
A playing off each other, a teasing
and a joy. The bump of rock and pop, the bass beat
providing cues in the upstairs dance
hall. When the music ended
we stood flushed together, a leaning in as one.
Under the Mason’s torch,
I’m off to the side, watching, a distance drawn
between me and them. My observer self has taken hold, rooting
me against the wall as couples twirl
and the band plays on, horns blowing, a wind
stirred up around me.
Copyright 2003 by Peter A. Stinson.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.