Blue Tango

Say it's the year of their courtship,
your mother and father,
in the ballroom of the Shoreham Hotel,
summer 1952.

In this plush setting,
the orchestra swells
time and again to a tune
always their favorite.

Any Friday night you could find them
on the dance floor.
He in tux and cummerbund.
She in a black strapless,
hem brushing the waxed wood
as though it were a lilypad.

Surrounded on all sides by Jesuits
and their débutante dates
in crushed velvet,
pearls around their necks
like a load of light.

How you love to imagine
that somehow everyone in that room
although a little tipsy
will get home safely
and fumble in love for their beds.

That the smoke from cigarettes
ringing the room in red
like hot coals is still rising.

Say somewhere birds lift off the lake
and it never gets light.

by Frazier Russell

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