Sixth Grade Dance II

I wish the hallways were this coy
during the day.
They look like they’ve been talking about us.
I wish they would talk to me.

Of course the cafeteria’s as bright as a hangover.

Thankfully there’s no one
to look at by the punch.
I lean on the table
with my cup. Andy and Jean
are fighting
or making out in the corner.
I sit at a lunch table, like this is a weird shadow
of Monday morning, and wait
for them to come say hi.
The punch bowl and skirts and ties
and hair gel are so strange here
I can’t stop staring everywhere
and I don’t see Cedar Robinson sit
across from me.

Cedar runs track.
Her dad is a bassist, and I hear
she likes poetry.
She’s wearing an intense argyle
vest over a bright red blouse
and she’s staring at me.


Hi, she smiles. Could you do me
a really huge favor?

I turn to goo. Sure!

Cedar smiles again. Thanks!
I’m going to put my hands
on the table, and you put yours
on top of mine, and look at me
and laugh when I say something.
Laugh when I say anything.
I’ll tell you when.

Two or three minutes go by.

Okay, now! she whispers.

Cedar takes my hands and looks
me in the eye. She mimics talking
and squeezes, so I let out
a big laugh. I don’t think
I’ve ever touched a girl’s hands
I liked. They’re so soft
and cold inside
from her punch cup.

She keeps looking off quickly
toward the hallway door.
When I look that way, she squeezes
so I look back at her. Finally
she lets go, leans forward
almost to my ear and says,

She lingers
at the punch bowl after filling
her cup, until Brock Livingston
comes to fill his,
and her whole body seems
to soften.

She gestures almost
in my direction. They talk
for a minute, and he lifts his cup
at the door,
way off
to another dance floor
where she asked
and I said yes.

Added: January 17, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015