Makebelieve Ballroom by Michael Pollick

Makebelieve Ballroom

and when all that remains of
our dimestore dances are scuffs
on aching linoleum,
I shall consider you carefully,
and know that we were gods once.

this was how the rockefellers
played it, all hot and close
enough to the bones;
we blew eight to the bar,
eight to the bar,
on blistered rugs and buckling
storeroom floors.

and you were all fierce reds
and polished whites,
clapping and surging with
the pulses of Dorsey,
whirling and crackling with
the promises of Miller,
turning and wailing with
the heat of the vacuums.

Today, I played the Dorsey
once more,
and as the needle danced
back and forth
on only a paper moon
only a paper moon
only a paper moon,
I heard the creaking
of the storeroom
boards, and for one
dying moment
you and I were spooning,
alone and invincible,
in the dust of
our makebelieve ballroom.

by Michael Pollick

Editor’s Note: Repetition is used to suggest the cadence of music in this poem. Nostalgia threads through the strains of old tunes, but the feeling of love remains.


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