At the Country & Western Dance Hall

In the center of the room, suspended
above the circular dance floor,
a saddle covered with tiny mirrors
spins, sequinning this other world.
Pairs of dancers turn and glide
as precisely as an intricate carousel.
Light glances off their blouses and belts.

A foot shifts here,
a hand reaches out;
the woman dips
and then rises.
Choices are made,
intentions understood—
each move is reflective.

We celebrate the birthday of a friend.
At our group’s table,
on the outskirts of the dance floor,
I’m a dark, fixed star—
a bit of firmament—
just beyond the pull
of those celestial spheres.

Beads of light scatter across
the shirt of the man I’ve been sleeping with.
He slips his hand into the back
of his girlfriend’s jeans
and pulls her into him.
She mirrors his smile,
cups his bright face in her palms.

As each song ends,
the bartenders toss
white napkins into the air.
They flutter; they litter the ground.
Every now and then,
the light catches one
and it shines as if it can shine.

Mag.GabbertMag Gabbert is an essayist and poet who received her MFA from the University of California at Riverside’s low residency program and is currently a PhD student in creative writing at Texas Tech University. Among other publications, Mag’s work can most recently be found in The Rattling Wall, The Rumpus and The Nervous Breakdown, where she is a contributing writer. Mag additionally serves as an associate editor for Iron horse Review. She and her dog, Bear, split their time between Lubbock and Dallas, where they feel most at home.