Dancing Days – by Linda Menzies


Dad twirls the glass stem, swirling ruby Fitou
saved from his recent wine-run to France.
Reflective in middle age, tabled with adult children
and bib-encased grandchildren, death is a distant thought.
He views the plundered cake’s spent candles.

Clearing his throat, he pronounces:
‘I want to quit this life at 92,
Shot on the dance floor by a jealous husband.’
He twinkles at his new wife, who offers coffee,
hiding her smile from the laughing table.

Now 90, he remembers a cheerful drumbeat
at the Plaza and the Palais de Danse,
where stiff-haired girls with spun-sugar petticoats
were eyed up by boys. Flushed with the boldness
of condoms deep in their wallets, the lads smirked.

Pulled from memories, Dad observes the view:
the pearl grey sky of a douce winter afternoon
drapes his city’s beckoning sounds and light.
Thoughtfully, he revises his exit date,
Upwards, to ninety eight.