Dancing in the Park

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Old-timers gather in the evenings after dinner,
at a square near the lotus pond, loudspeakers
spilling Classical music in the setting sun.

Couples form to begin twirling and dipping,
women in crisp skirts and heels, men in blazers,
the shy wallflowers with glittering eyes, waiting.

It’s Valentine’s Day, a first date, that awkward
high school dance, even the father-daughter
dance you shared at your first wedding

under a sparkling tent; but you never dance
anymore.  Now you watch.  Off to the side,
chattering grandmas are making deals, playing

matchmaker, trading photos of their marriageable
offspring like baseball cards, while divorced women
frown, lonely and ignored (this, a traditional city).

And you consider stepping to the sidelines, causing
a stir as the only foreign woman, a divorced one,
at that, but you don’t, and it grows dark.  Couples

are leaving hand in hand, soundmen joking over
cigarettes, packing up their equipment, as the
lotus blooms begin to wilt in the fading light.

© Lauren Tivey, 2016.

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2 thoughts on “Dancing in the Park

  1. This feels like such a complete piece of poetry, one with so much going on both at the centre of the subject matter and also at the periphery that the reader gets to feel like they’re a part of the experience.
    I think you shared the speaker’s place in things in a really clever way; on one hand they’re an observer, viewing from the outskirts, yet in another way there’s an underlying feeling they could be under observation themselves.
    I love the image you ended with, something taken from nature which feels indicative of the human emotion on display.

    Like

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