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by April Halprin Wayland

At the dance,
I wander into the
cold-tiled bathroom:
fixing, fixing, a line
of fixing girls,
making sure.
What’s wrong?
Is it the color of my lipstick?
Is that why I’m not being asked to dance?
Is it my bitten fingernails?

I wander back to the fringe
of the cool gym
to heat my wall spot.
Other wall-warmers
are whisked away.
I work hard, hiding my fingertips
from inspection.

I leave
when the lights flash on,
collecting a balloon for my room
and confetti to sprinkle in my hair;
go out into the chill night
to watch for that bronze Buick’s headlights blazing
and my father’s
bathrobed figure
in the driver’s seat.

Back home,
I cuddle up to comfortable
bodies on a queen-size
bed, watch a mystery movie, and hold my mother’s warm
and bitten
published in Cricket Magazine September 1999
also published in GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING (Knopf) 2002

from MorgueFile.com

from MorgueFile.com


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