A certain wind
on a winter day
Can make the trees in my garden sway
Like girls I saw in a dance hall once
Who hoped some boy would ask them to dance.
A saxophone cut the hall in two
With a note like a knife, so cold and blue
That the partnered dancers stiffened as well,
And across the room a loneliness fell.
Like a wind in a garden that icily rolls,
The saxophone gusted at large in their souls.
So they clung each to each as they circled the hall.
Then a bare-armed girl stepped away from the wall.
She came as if called...as the saxophone bade her.
It clung her like anguish. It swept her and swayed her.
Thin as a sapling, she was clad all in black,
Overdressed for this crowd, in a gown with no back.
A fake silver brooch was pinned without taste
To a cinch that had nothing to cinch at her waist.
Her long bony arms hung from shoulders too wide
With a small plastic purse on a string at one side.
She could feel the pure music, so sweet and sad,
And you knew that she'd often dreamt of the lad
Who would waltz her around with a step so fine
It would make hearts leap...as it now made mine.
And I wanted to run to her, offer my arm,
And be her dance partner and save her from harm.
I wanted to hold her, enfold her, and dance,
And be her dream lover, and give her a chance
To know all. But I knew that I wasn't the boy
Of her need, of her fear, of her dream of her joy.
And I knew that I couldn't save them all,
For she wasn't the only girl at the wall.
So now I am old and sit alone
And hear the wind in my garden moan.
Those girls long ago passed on...somehow,
And if not, there's nothing to do for them now.
So I watch the saplings dancing here,
Bare limbs swaying and tossing hair.
The winter wind that cuts and hurts them,
Animates them...moves, alerts them.
The bending trunks and waving tops
Are frantic needs and frenzied hopes.
It hurts to see them. It's worse to hear,
But I listen and watch them year after year,
Swaying...as though there might be a chance...
But nobody ever has asked them to dance.