Saturday night, when the oven
is off and the cakes are covered,
I chameleon myself:
pull on my worn-out boots
and smear red lipstick
on my lips that will form
the lyrics I know by heart,
bare a little more skin
than my mother suggests,
go to sway in a dark room full
of people I could love.
I can't play like her, can't
sing like her, can't throw
my head back and laugh
at life like her. I tap my toes
and clap the beat, my smile
like a Cheshire cat's.
I give my glance to the boys
who look like they could
love me, or dance to the slow
songs, maybe even have
a Cadillac parked out back.
When I work at the bakery,
in my calico and cotton,
I turn the radio up loud
whenever Mr. Perkins
comes on. The pies get filled
with hip-shaking, the bread rises
in quarter beats, cookies
spread like the buttery voice
of Mr. Cash down my back.
People say I make the sweetest
stuff this side of the Mississippi,
but nothing is sweeter than a boy
who wants to dance to a 3/4 song
a waltzy melody on a hot summer
night, with that red dress touching
my legs, and my cheek next to his.
When we meet after a day away
and our eyes are strained from staring
at white screens, it is as if--
no, not as if, but when
we meet in the kitchen and smile
and reach for each other, I am soaring.
Maybe not soaring, but meeting
with arms wrapped around each other’s waists
and your cheek on my hair, after hours apart.
Was it hours? But at home
when we are tired of all the noise
of the world and want the quiet of our bed.
Not really tired, but our bed
is there again while we went away,
and it’s too early for what we want it to be.
Alright, not too early, but we just want to be
where we can hold each other
and soar for a time, maybe hours.