Dancing with a Doorknob

Barbara Conrad

Everything you’d want in a dance partner
was there in Betsy’s basement, Friday night
girl party, stereo blasting the Everly Brothers

or Shirelles, and you face to face
with a closet door, door shut tight, your hand
grasping the knob, feet starting to shuffle

1-2-3, 1-2-3, back step

Perfect rhythm, timing to die for.
When you pull away, the door stays tight,
giving the tension you long for.

When you come forward, it meets you
nose to nose, so to speak — or in your dreams,
lips to lips. On the beat. In the groove.

Shoo bop shoo bop, my baby, oooooo.

None of the disconnect in holding a real boy
in your arms – his awkward push and pull,
your mangled toes. Even when a slow dance

would play, how it felt oh so good,
but was always doomed to end up tangled
in those nagging lyrics:

Will you still love me…. tomorrow?

Barbara Conrad is author of three poetry collections: The Gravity of Color, Wild Plums and her most recent, There Is a Field (2018). She is also Editor of Waiting for Soup, an anthology from her writing group at a center for homeless neighbors. Her poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry, Atlanta Review, Nine Mile, NC Literary Review, Broad River and several anthologies, such as Kakalak and Southern Poetry Anthology. Her latest book reflects the interconnectedness of all humanity and nature.