The Bearded Lady

Backwards moving,
In her dizzying field of vision,
Bloody heels from stiff formal shoes;
Feel the gliding, flying with each step.
The Man
Secretly smiles into her fair finger-waves;
Stiff and set into girlish curls,
Hidden, suppressed.
In the ballroom,
On this very night,
The others don’t know.

Slow, slow
Quick, quick slow

Slow, slow
Quick, quick slow

The room tilts,
Swirls, and blurs:
Bending a cyclone of armchairs,
Crown molding,
Golden tassels attached to ornate window dressings,
A pearl earring,
Hardwood floors parquet into one shade.
They’ve danced to this tune for their entire lives,
Since children forced by birth.
And now as young adults,
Finely dressed in a gown and a suit.

Slow, Slow
Quick, quick slow

Slow, slow
Quick, quick slow

Shoulders back!
Chin up!
Impress each faceless patron,
Each cousin, neighbor,
Show them all your perfect breath.
The Man is taken,
Claimed,
But not by the Girl.
Her heart is the façade.
For this one night they appear to belong together –
The Bearded Lady.

Slow, slow
Quick, quick slow

Slow, slow
Quick, quick slow

Their last dance,
A choreographed twirl
Disappear into the floor;
Just like a lost island.
Into the twinkle of the chandeliers up above
Childhood is fading.
Can he hear them in Heaven?
She can hear them in her dreams.
All the dazzle of young love,
Forever frozen in sepia tone
Encased in hand-cut panes.

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