Let’s go dancing, in our heads.
You take my hand, I toss the rose.
We mustn’t kiss, we both agree
that would be irresponsible.
Can you hear that slide guitar?
No. I can hear a mandolin –
but certainly, the blues.
We’ve waded through discarded masks
like leaf-litter in the alley
and stumbled down the stairway
to the Blind Tiger in our minds.
The barman ties his paisley scarf
like a highwayman’s disguise,
while he mixes your Negroni
and, for me, a mauve concoction
he calls the Amelia Earhart.
He dips the rim of a conical glass
first in egg white, then fine sugar,
and you whisper of a masked ball
between the wars, a faceless, silent
party; how they wove their spells:
the contour where velvet meets throat,
the barest brush of a lace cuff,
and, despite our best intentions,
your mouth works its way up my arm,
a tentacle passing delicacies along
the conveyor belt of its pale hoops,
and when you reach my neck
I tilt my head. And, reader,
you don't know if towards or away
but will just have to imagine.
Audrey Molloy’s debut collection, The Important Things, will be published by The Gallery Press in 2021. Her chapbook, Satyress, was published by Southword Editions in 2020. Today’s poem is from Poems from Pandemia ( SOUTHWORDeditions ), an anthology edited by Patrick Cotter and just published.