Loving

Parents Without Partners Toga Dance, Circa 1970’s

Detail from "Spirit of the Frontier," by John Gast, 1872

Detail from “Spirit of the Frontier,” by John Gast, 1872

by Patricia Fargnoli

Stardust hung over the American Legion Hall
as we headed from our car to the door,
sheathed in sheets, mid-life, pocketbooks swinging.
Something better happen, Maureen said.

As we headed from our car to the door,
and the dim gloom of the long hall,
Something better happen, Maureen said,
some man whirl us off into perfect happiness.

In the dim gloom of the long hall,
a three-piece band played, more beat than music.
Would some man whirl us off into happiness?
The women sat at folding tables waiting

as the three-piece band played, more beat than music:
Sweet Caroline, Proud Mary.
The women sat at long metal folding tables waiting.
Men stood around the bar, one leaned against the wall.

Sweet Caroline, Proud Mary.
Some couples were dancing, mostly far apart.
Men stood around the bar, one leaned against the wall.
His eyes scanned the room like twin beacons.

Some couples were dancing far apart,
we all wore togas like at old Roman revels.
His eyes scanned the room like twin beacons,
a man with a diamond on his little finger.

We all wore togas like at old Roman revels.
Maureen’s was falling, uncovering one breast.
The man with a diamond on his pinky finger—
I tried to catch his eye; I wanted him to choose me.

Maureen’s sheet was falling, uncovering one breast,
she’d had enough highballs not to worry about it.
I tried to catch the man’s eye, I wanted him to choose me.
He held out his hand and we swung out on the floor.

I’d had enough highballs not to worry about anything—
gold hoops on my ears, mascara on my lashes
as he held out his hands and we swung around the floor.
Stardust hung over the American Legion Hall.

from Rattle #41, Fall 2013
Tribute to Single Parent Poets

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