When the mood takes her, my fiddle
will put on a violin’s ballgown,
and spend an hour coaxing her curls
into a semblance of propriety,
before excavating my tuxedo
from the closet and thrusting it towards me
with a meaningful look.
The first flyaway ringlet,
like a loose bow hair,
had already made its break
as she turned away from the mirror.
Stray specks of garden dirt and rosin
adorn her fingernails, and her bare toes
peek out beneath her petticoats.
Each partner she passes in the cotillion
is left slightly disoriented
for no reason they can name,
but not unpleasantly so,
and when the dance returns her to my side,
I catch a wink behind her mischievous decorum,
and a subtle poke in the ribs.
She dances the sarabande
like an Argentine tango,
the quadrille like a square dance,
and when we polka her laugh
trails behind us in a wake
of ruffled hoop skirts and coattails,
and arched eyebrows.
But well before the evening’s end
she blows a kiss to the orchestra
and we twirl out the door,
leaving shocked whispers behind us
as we run into the night
to find a pub, a ceilidh,
and some fast Irish reels.