For Eleanor and Gordon Sidman
They had so many records to choose from—
Eddie Duchin, Guy Lombardo, Montivanti.
Centering themselves in the living room, the needle set
in the groove, he places his right hand just above her left hip.
Squared to each other they step together step into a fox trot:
one two three four, one two three four—or a waltz:
one two three, one two three
Lost in reverie they practice for the luxury liner, two
eighty-year-olds who want to duplicate the prize they won
last year—crowned king and queen of the cruise.
The captain’s table their reward along with ermine
cape, crown, and scepter.
In another house, their elder daughter slips out Lester Lanin, spins
him on the Magnovox.. Wearing a strapless gown with a bright red
satin bow, she descends the stairs as if stepping out of new snow.
The tulle skirt, dotted with rhinestones, sparkles
as she greets her date, stiff in his tuxedo.
A gardenia corsage in a florist shop bursts open the thoughts
of the younger daughter to a party gown with sequins splayed over
an electric blue bodice, wind blowing off the moon-papered lake.
Squeeze, squeeze to a rumba beat, to a rumba beat.
Now the house is packed up for leaving. The two daughters
pull out the slide carousel, darken the room and watch
their parents dance by one last time—She in her sea-green
voile, full-length gown, he in his white dinner jacket, black trousers:
One two three four—there goes Bermuda.
One two three four—there goes St. Croix, and in the distance, click,
One two three—there goes St. Thomas.
Published in Over A Threshold of Roots