Saturday Afternoons

Mum would put Mario Lanza
on the record player,
teach me to waltz on the parquet floor;
Dad always absent working,
she’d play the man, sweep me
along in her arms,
telling stories of the dances
she loved, before he came along
with his dance-shy feet.
On the mantelpiece
a photo of her, lovely
in her cream wedding-dress.

As we whirled about,
I’d have a vision of it clinging,
then fanning from my hips
a hundred covered buttons
down my crepe-de-chine back,
dance card and pencil at my wrist.



Val Binney