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The Stars


By Kendra Whitfield

The tile is littered with paper-punch confetti and battered petals.

Feet aching and sticky hot, I emerge from the ladies’ room

Into air thick with stale champagne and bad dance music.

He catches my gaze, eyebrows raised askance.

I nod,

Plaster smile of serene joy smearing my face like day-old greasepaint.

His eyes darken, his smile fades:

It’s not a trick of the rented light cast by the cracked disco ball

In this crumbling community hall turned sacred site.

I watch him turn towards the groom at the bar across the room.

I can hear the convivial slap across the cheap-tuxedoed back

Even though the lips of the woman beside me are

Moving soundlessly,

Like an asthmatic goldfish in a murky bowl. 

I bury my face in the nearest bouquet,

Busy myself with the guestbook.

Fumbling in my sequined bag, my fingers clutch

The test instead of a pen.

That slender-flat tube of fate

Declaring the promise and erasure of all that might be.

I watch him lean closer to the groom,

Whisper in his ear,

Share a glance more intimate than any

He has ever given me.

Kendra Whitfield lives and writes on the southern edge of the northern boreal forest.  When not writing, she can be found basking in sunbeams on the back deck or swimming laps at the local pool.  Her poetry appears in The Raven Review, The Rye Whiskey Review and in the anthology, We Were Not Alone (Community Building Art Works, November, 2021).

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