Monday, April 20, 2009

Unbalancing Act

Wimbledon Hotle, Bournemouth, Christmas 1960
Christmas, Bournemouth, 1960, Wimbledon Hall Hotel,
Mark in his red corduroy trousers –
red tie cardigan with red and blue stripes
playing with the owner and daughter.

The world is off-centre, tipsy.
I’m three and three quarters, lips slightly parted, gaze

sliding away. Someone has hubcapped my head
with a drinks tray – the owner

who helps me straddle a balloon, his cuff-linked hand
on my leg, keeping me steady

between rows of ladies watching something to the right –
razzmatazz! – a whole warming up decade.

The nearest of two bare-armed girls –
in matching polka-dot dresses and bobbed hair –

sits with her back to me, captivated or bored.
Her slender forearm is raised

to put a morsel in her mouth, kiss
her fingertips; unaware we’ve been slipstreamed,

wedded by light, how her big dress
is the bigger picture, flared, almost touching the floor.

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