Ballroom partner to a broom swept over
Kitchen scraps, you spun to Dorsey, scuffing
Up the floor, and waving withered hands,
And flashing past a husband puffing
Cigarettes and knocking back one shot, then
Two. He, Irish Bill, who looked in youth like
Tyrone Power, a black-and-white matinee idol
Of teenage dreams, and you, on hunger strike
For the Blessed Virgin, skinny brown-eyed
Annie, your dark curls tight from tetanus, your
Mind holding fast to an eighth-grade degree.
He could not dance, this dance hall drunk, who spun
Half-truths round the waxed wood floors, but watched knees
Bent in dance and prayer and promised to be yours.
Erin O’Luanaigh is a former Commonweal intern.
Tweets by @commonwealmag