may i have this dance?

i never had my dance card stolen.

i never had a dance card.

cotillions, none.

balls, none.


my dad drops me off at junior prom

in our high school cafeteria in a

culpeper county cow pasture.


the theme’s an enchanted evening.

my corsage is a lone orchid.


years earlier, dad teaches me

the philadephia swing.

nervous, i miss a beat and

step on his foot.

impatient and pained,

he proclaims i can’t dance.


i will not dance for years.


my new husband, as we wait for old friends,

puts his hand out to me and asks shyly,

“may i have this dance?”


and, he twirls and dips me into eternity.


my corsage is happiness.


My Daddy

My Daddy used to always say no one ever won the Marlboro contests. They were all scams. I just knew the Marlboro man was more true than my old man.

My Daddy died of a heart attack when our shed caught fire in a surprise, summer thunder storm.

The smoke and flame seemed like another creature than on my Marlboro Red tips.

I lost my Daddy without ever showing him I was a winner.

Now, I think about him whenever I feel the clunk of my Marlboro thermos against my leg.

Red fire and hot coffee.