by Laura Bandy

You sidle up, nervous suitor at a dance.  Sideways glances at others who are doing it better: crisp black ties, polish on their shoes, the right moves. What kind of dance is this? Your pants are too tight, you’re fumbling, all the pretty girls glide away.  The damp fields asleep in moonlight, you say.  The girl’s dresses rustle like wheat. Also, A light wind, and beyond the window, trees swimming in the golden morning air. The chaperone places a heavy hand on your shoulder. That’s no way to speak to a lady, he says.  Maybe you don’t belong at this dance. The girls gather whispering against the wall, spring flowers in their pastel frocks. Absolutely not, says the chaperone, let me show you the exit. You both turn towards the open window. The stars seem impossibly close.  How many flights? you ask. The chaperone pats your arm, gives you a gentle shove. Yes, that’s the right question. 

after Raymond Carver

Image credit: Farah