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Contemporary: One Bad Apple

Surrounded by men

Sitting in the middle

of a matte red leather booth

Thick cigar smoke

burns at her lungs

her cough lingers

in my ears

round and round

like a bug caught

in my right canal

struggling to be free

I excuse myself

and walk across the room.

I offer her my hand.

long black eyelashes blush

Our fingers intertwine

 as

I guide her to the dance floor

feeling underneath my left palm

pearl buttons on the small of her back

the music

soft and low

the beat of a cello

bringing couples together

tight and close

hands around waists

reminiscing about their secret rendezvous

once

so long ago

but all I can feel

is the curve of her hip

as it follows my unimpressive box step

in her embrace

my mind reels back to the simplicity of

polka dot dresses lying on green grass

a picnic against the clouds

brown wicker baskets filled with homemade treats

wrapped in ribbons

the wind whipping up a full skirt

crinoline underneath

modest fingers pushing it down

embarrassed cheeks

underneath bright green eyes

The song ends.

The touch

of my wiry lips

on the top of her hand

thanking her for our dance

hoping that she stays with me

to fall in love

instead

She returns to her companions

long legs leaving in fishnet stockings

snickers from her thick painted mouth

looking over her shoulder at my shadow

her black hair a beautiful sin

I stand alone

hunched back

against a pale blue suit

single breasted

narrow lapels

Rotting fruit in a wicker bowl.

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