© 2003 Quarterly West

Summer Ceremonial
Lynne McMahon

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The twilight on the canopy
could be construed as bridal hues,
ivory to lavender to colorless night,
exciting the possibility the two of you
might yet be won to
couplehood . . .The panoply,

though, invokes instead
a dread of all things ceremonial. Fuck Love
Let's Dance your collar pin insists,
twisting its pin a bit further in to prove
its point--a pointed move
you Tom Jones to, red dress

black gloves, black hat. The knack
of bracketing off what can't be got's
a kind of art, and every lacquered
liquored kiss unslips the knot
and keeps things hot--
passionate, in point of fact,

attachable to the panoply
that wants to be your fete, or
fate, let's say, whose music
chooses to finally ignore
your pledges to resist amour
on this twilit floor beneath the canopy.

Lynne McMahon's third book is titled The House of Entertaining Science (David Godine, 1999). Sentimental Standards, her most recent collection of poems will be published in 2003. Her awards include a Pushcart Prize and appearances in the Best of American Poetry Anthology. She has received grants from the Ingram-Merrill Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation and is a professor of English at the University of Missouri.