At the African American Debutante Ball in Youngstown
Poetry by Dom Fonce
She folds underneath him– wrapped up like a family heirloom—and he holds her hand as a father does to the back of his newborn. The jazz musicians pause, inhale something more than air, and exhale the Viennese Waltz. They all swing.
Somewhere, a child twirls a dandelion between his fingers, stops, and blows white feathers into the sky–
now she is a castle of fabric and he is a guard dog watching the door. They step
in neat handshakes, and the girls move from boy to boy and back with each beat.
In the end, the hall simmers to a halt—every girl has finally arrived; innocents has left each eye—the universe is placed down in portions
to comb through and procure.
They all choose, “Yes, I want it.”
And the room turns crimson, explodes with saxophone blasts–
quickly, they stuff their laurels down their gloves
and set the room ablaze.
Dom Fonce is a poet from Youngstown, Ohio. He is the author of Here, We Bury the Hearts (Finishing Line Press, 2019). He is the Editor-in-Chief of Volney Road Review and a poetry editor at Great Lakes Review. He is also an MFA candidate at the NEOMFA. His poetry has been published in Obra/Artifact, Burning House Press, Black Rabbit Quarterly, Italian Americana, 3Elements Review, America’s Best Emerging Poets 2018: Midwest Region, and elsewhere.