In a gym full of boys in Hawaiian shirts,
plastic leis thrown midair are meant to land
back over heads and ears and shoulders —
a bright, frenetic game of ring toss.
Soon the floor will clear and we will sway
with our sons wrapped around
our middles in the brevity of a song.
Somewhere between too tight
and too distracted the hula-hoops
orbit and the limbo stick lowers.
The night air is full of thunder
and the smoke of burning orchards.
Outside on a break between songs,
we hear a mother on her cell phone
telling someone that her son is ignoring her —
the idiot, she laments into darkness.
Through the windows and the confetti
trickle of plastic petals and raffle tickets,
another boy awkwardly dances
the same four steps that his mother
is pointing out to him again —
an invisible constellation on the floor.
She is statuesque in her high-heeled boots,
hair red and gleaming like Apollo’s muse.
With his small hands around her waist,
he counts each beat in earnest and holds her
like a column of tattooed porcelain —
as if he is holding her up
for all the rest of us to see.