The Jitterbug

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Elise Hempel

The Jitterbug


      Wherever they took the three of us that night—
      some place that had a jukebox or a band,
      a VFW hall, a gym—has darkened
      and narrowed, leaving in an oval spotlight

      their sudden holding hands, their drifting through
      a blurred crowd, and now their parallel
      spins and matching kicks, how they fell
      right into it, hopping in sync, how they knew

      those stomps and claps, even her lift and sweep
      beneath his legs—old skill resumed with just
      a song they both recalled, some wordless trust.
      This little glowing cameo I keep

      of my parents, that moment they were stars
      one night when they forgot their quiet wars.

Able Muse / Eratosphere Sonnet Bake-Off, 2016 ▪ Third Place