There Used To Be Gentlemen

by Maria DiLorenzo

who handled their women
like art in a museum, forbidden

to touch, yet sometimes slyly
touched, my grandfather in 1945

kissing my grandmother’s hand
at the drivein then parting ways

on her stoop. The moon hung
like a chandelier, those sticky

fingers of light groped every inch
of ground, empty ballrooms they’ve yet

to dance in. Longing was like craving
a cigarette and not lighting one,

letting her hand go like a balloon.
She listened to the patter

of his shoes, the radio set low,
tuned to the song stuck in his head,

say, it’s only a paper moon,
sailing over a cardboard sea.

In two separate houses, two separate
rooms their hearts jazzed along

until drowsy dead air
bloomed, and the song forgot

how to sound, making them fall
asleep without each other.