Angela Allen

The mothers came home,
lipstick smeared like jelly, lurching for coffee,
just freshening up.
The fathers, revived after a cocktail fling,
ties loose, hair tossed like high school boys.
Some walked me home.

Upstairs, hours past midnight,
I put up my hair like
Audrey Hepburn, or wrapped it in
scarves like Grace Kelly riding in convertibles,
wind sweeping her radiant face
to the next place.

I never thought of those fathers, until
one kissed me on the cheek,
once, twice, three times, like the Parisians do.
His wife had liaisons, he said, since I knew a little French.
I brushed him off, my heart a silk scarf.
I was going to cafes, and other places too,
to see fireworks on Bastille Day.

Angela Allen
Portland, June 2004