Three Poems by Dennis DuBois

Dream Dance I

  Already in her flannel pajamas,
she lounges on her comfort couch,
                          wasting a night,
Her place in the romantic novel
                         lost so many times
  she can no longer track the plot.
The radio blares background noise
         to soften the discomforting
     until a waltz filters through
     the speakers, fills her ears,
                 hooks her,
                               pulling her
     attention away from the book
                   to the music.
Um-pa-pa, um-pa-pa, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh
     the choral singers harmonize.
                   She rises
    to her feet, closing her eyes
                   to find the rhythm —
    1-2-3, 1-2-3, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh
                  she hums
as she moves freely around the room,
                  raising her arms
    to encircle and hold the hand
             of her imaginary

Dream Dance II

Oh, fortuitous discovery!
         What a joy! -- to be
lifted up out of the doldrums
         in this way!
She beams at her image
         in the mirror
as she brushes her hair,
         polishes her teeth.
The radio closed in preparation
         for bed,
but somehow the music plays on
         in her head.
Pulling the covers over her, she lies,
         blissfully ensconced,
her arms wrapped around her torso.
         Soundlessly she hums
         the tune.
The dance lingers until she falls
         into a gap
this world and the next,
         a fantasy web
         of her own making.
         So alive!
Her body moving in her sleep,
         her eyes to and fro
         in their sockets,
a smile spreading gently
         across her face.

In the Aftermath

I look away to curse into the wind 
      for my perceived mistreatment.
The insults made worse for their indirectness, 
      vague enough to allow deniability.  

Propriety banned discussion. All were voiceless. 
      Insults souring like a battered green grape, 
clearly someone had said something, aided 
      and abetted by the muted hush of the whole.

History hints sharply, at first jab no pain is felt, 
      but on the out-thrust the jagged edge lags, 
curdling the innards. Still we acclimate 
      to the challenge, rationalizing the injury. 

Harmless play, perhaps a ploy for attention. 
      It drew no blood, bore no scab, 
left no scar, would heal to invisibility. 
      In time would be wholly forgotten. 

In the aftermath of blunder and bust, 
      curled in the nook of one’s own lair, 
in the quell of quietude a certitude arises; 
      banishment can be worn as a badge of honor.

Spring green erases winter white, points to 
      an opening, to the rays of light that pierce
the cloud cover. The flicker of orange-tipped flames 
      warm the inner hearth, coaxing the heart 
          to find the rhythm again. 

Dennis DuBois holds a Master’s Degree in social work, and has worked to help others for decades, while writing poems along the way. He has published poems in Bee Museum, Curved House, The Projectionist’s Playground, Runcible Spoon, Verse News, and Message in Bottle. He is an American expatriate, living in Copenhagen.

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