I Was Not Listening

I was not listening I was remembering small lights strung in the dark
by a narrow river

reflections like fireflies ricocheting off smooth water that was both
brown and green

like a mirror in a dark room that the headlights of turning cars
ply with light

the shivering of my yellow skirt in warm, still air

whatever it was I was waiting for. How palm fronds and banana leaves

shone slickly like swords. She was remembering when not yet twenty
she lost her job and her tears and her brother saying go dress up

taking her to a hotel roof garden where a dance band played
and there was a little breeze

a paste of talcum between her breasts and thighs, an ice cube
she ran across her throat, across the back of her neck.