Wendy Klein


© Wendy Klein CCXVI

Swaying to the juke box in the high school gym,
our merry widow bodices enhancing would-be
breasts, we throbbed in bewildered desire
pretending again and again to 'The Platters',
(Ooohoo, yes I'm the great pretender), a catch
in their voices that hinted at men who might
cry, not just boys straight in from milking,
who cleaned their nails in class with pen knives,
but came to dance in suits, in dinner jackets -- rented
or borrowed - red carnations wilting in button holes
as they pressed unfettered longing against layers
of tulle and petticoats, stacked and starched
to crackling stiffness, when our lip-sticked smiles
were an invitation for later in his dad's car,
washed specially that same afternoon,
to touch bare skin under our queenly gowns, 

long before Freddie turned it all topsy-turvy
(laughing and gay as a clown): lips rouged red,
big white teeth that could have looked better,
but made a point -- rampant as a hare's below
his inky moustache -- as he gyrated in skin-tight

satin, every surface of his body gleaming
as he pulled the microphone to him like a lover,
lips pressed to its mouthpiece, caressing himself
with the stand, his fans orgasmic: cheering
louder and louder, as he howled to the gods above,
to the crowd below, the borrowed song,
like a last confession ( lonely,
but no one can tell).
Published in the Creative Arts Anthology - Reading University - 2015