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Roy Bentley
POETRY
 
Night, She Says

The yellow-skirted babysitter does a lewd shimmy,
slide-stepping to the fridge for a Coca-Cola.  She's
a German major at UD, is hip to John Paul George
and Ringo, and brings her own phonograph records,

33s, to stack on my father's turntable, introducing me
to Introducing the Beatles, hand-carried from Hamburg,
and all this before Ed Sullivan hands them over
like an instance of beauty made double in the right light.

She's got on fish-nets; and when there's no music,
none that I can hear yet, at 10, clasps my left hand
and we faux-tango off to my bed beneath the Crucifix.
Thank you, Jesus, I whisper.  "Night," she says.

In the morning I flex my pecs and biceps, recalling
the spontaneous choreography of Wanda Goff.
Mother says, "What’s gotten into you, Roy?"
But my father, who drove Wanda home, tucks in

his tank-top; he smiles, all forearms and swelling chest.
Then yellow light streams in through the one long
kitchen window, and I know why it takes breath
to fill a body the rest of the way, why fish-net stockings

make blood rush down the concourse of affirmation.
When I'm too old to twist and shout, too lively yet
to die, I pray for a Beatles tune, any, and a dancer
easy with the bump and grind of self, who shimmies.

 


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