This spring day is drawing its curtain,
and a chilly breeze moves in to replace
the setting sun. Our dogwood is blooming
early this year, and the neighbor kids
are still playing street hockey.
You asked me half an hour ago
to take a walk with you, but now
you've nodded in front of Dancing with the Stars,
your head lolling to the left.
The sun has closed up shop, stars
are beginning to poke through the purple,
and you are snoring on the couch.
Another hard day. Maybe we are walking
through the neighborhood in your dreams,
talking about grandchildren, home renovations,
or how we need to get more exercise.
I don't have the heart to wake you.
We'll get another chance tomorrow.
But for now, they're doing the tango on TV,
and that couch looks so damned comfortable.
And here is another "bonus" poem I wrote several years ago for the occasion of my son's upcoming wedding. It fits both prompts ("dance" and "nocturne") perfectly.
Of the fifty-eight things I need to do before I die,
number six is to dance at your wedding.
Yes, me - the guy who once asked for the Virginia Reel
at my junior high dance, because I learned it in gym class
and it was the only dance I knew. I'll stumble and sway
with your mother and your bride through a slow dance,
but later I'll need at least three beers to lubricate
my creaky joints and my reserve, and a full dervish of guests
on the dance floor, a Brownian movement of bodies,
where I'll slip between Uncle Jack, who lumbers like a grizzly bear,
and Aunt Lois and her date, who have inexplicably slid into a tango,
while the flower girl jumps randomly up and down,
parachuting her petticoats. I'll be a hoofer for you -
that is, I will dance like an animal without toes.
I won't do that damned Chicken Dance,
but I will bounce and celebrate to Kool and the Gang
or any of those obligatory songs, as this ecstatic mob
thrums along with abandon in a rented hall,
under a clear, rosy evening sky, where somewhere,
your grandmother does the tarantella.
(Previously published in Mad Poets Review)