They Lost It at the Cleaners by Donal Mahoney


They Lost It at the Cleaners

Every four years I vote
and every four years
for the last 40 years
the same lady
has signed me in

and every four years
she looks at my ID,
then up at me and says
“Don’t I know you?”
Meanwhile the people
lining up behind me
are getting impatient
so I tell her that

she knows me because
she signs me in to vote
every four years.
She nods and says,
“But didn’t you go
dancing back in the day
at the Aragon Ballroom?
You knew how to waltz
while the other guys
could only jitterbug.”

And so I confess that back
in the Sixties long before
arthritis and stenosis,
I used to dance a bit
and she looks away
and says, “You should have
called me like you promised.
I gave you my number.”

By now there are
eight people waiting
behind me so I tell her
I had planned to call her
but left her number
in my suit and they
lost it at the cleaners.

Otherwise, I tell her,
I would have called her
and swept her off her feet.
And after a big wedding
at the cathedral we’d
have honeymooned
for years and never
would she have ever
married my brother
who can’t dance a step.

Donal Mahony

Donal Mahoney, nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found by clicking here… 

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