Poetry 9

From Cheek to Chic

She sits along the wall, like others,
in the spacious solarium,
eyes fogged without focus,
smile unwarranted.
The early afternoon sun bathes
her cheeks in a warm glow.

A tag with her embroidered name
peeks out of her freshly laundered blouse,
her silver and charcoal strands
neatly combed, bunned on her nape.

She recognizes few, answers in words
only monosyllabic, a minimalist
in conversation whose nouns disappear
leaving gaps in diction and semantics.

Music starts—The Merry Widow Waltz.
She moves in her chair, sways this way and that.
Soon an inviting hand takes hers in his,
helps her onto the dance-floor like Cinderella
at the ball. She follows, glides across
the bleached boards
like a buoyant ballerina on ice.
Her smile now has intention.
She twirls to the rhythm in the arms
of her partner.

The sieve at the base of her cerebellum
leaks memories that pool down in calves,
metatarsals, shins, bone marrow.
Muscle memory never rusts. Joints reawaken,
steps quicken, soles won’t rest.

When the waltz is done, she is not—
euphoria lingering.
Returns to chair, happy, not knowing why.
Next day when led to the solarium
senses something nice awaits her,
has no idea what,
waits expectantly in her chair.

—Evie Groch

—Gustavo Fring