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The Ice Rink.

 They dazzle me still, those teenagers of the fifties slow-skating
arm  in arm Under the high lights that made the rest of the park look
darker The speakers on the wired poles sing to them They are in love
with the wordless ahs
  and oohs
The earnest falsetto, the bass man's pledge over the bridge Their
blade strokes slight and silent, their feet barely move Scarves dangle
from their shoulders, there are pom-poms above  her ears Their
unimaginable secrets make white puffs near their faces Brief as the
glances when their eyes meet They circle the rink slowly as the record
circles its hole And glide for a while still after it's over
At home they mope: slumped, awkward, half-rebellious Retreating to their
narrow rooms and radios They hear Little Richard, or Par Boone covering
Little Richard, on  WTMJ And take heart in the nonsense shouts, the drum
set and yipping sax Surely something will happen to them, this life in
the bland debris  of midcentury can't last Cars, graduation, a
first job at Kresge's or the canning plant Maybe college, or
eighteen months in Okinawa by a lonely sea There will be room in the
latest expansions when he gets back Someone is planning a tract house
for them on the edge of town Schools multiply, the two-tone sedans they
will want are already  growing fins But for now they have letter
sweaters and pink change purses, and the hits keep coming
Winters are long here, the rink stays open from Thanksgiving  through
Easter Its scratched glassy circle is a slow clock Night after night
they flicker between boredom and exquisite desire Everyone says
they're the start of something, bur they aren't enough They
have no brothers and sisters, or have forgotten them He enters into the
project of his jalopy, dreaming of summer There will be drives to the
little towns nearby, evenings along the  lake They know they can get out
of it all but why would they want to Under her wool coat she is wearing
a small pin shaped like a wood  chip with his name on it They will cling
to each other because the song is ending and there  are still good jobs
in the factory They will marry because love, oh love, swept them into
the dark 
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Author:Bogen, Don
Publication:Northwest Review
Article Type:Poem
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2009
Previous Article:Leaving the Meadows.
Next Article:The Singer.

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