poetry by Jeanie Greensfelder

Jeanie is the author of Biting the Apple and Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith and I Got What I Came For. Visit her official site here.

Movie Night

We are seventh-grade girls — 
new bodies, new feelings — out Friday night,
walking to the movies with our dates.

Our boyfriends throw stones at street lamps 
and steal stem caps off tires. Girls giggle.
A man appears, and we all run.

At the theater, girls and boys pair up
for holding hands. As the film peaks,
the detective reveals the murderer,

and Dolores — oh that Dolores, 
who swears she doesn’t bleach her hair
even though we point at her black roots,

who grabs our chests in the restroom
and labels us oranges, grapefruit or fried eggs,
who dates dreamboat Brad—yes, that Dolores

exclaims out loud, Golly darn!
Everyone laughs, even though some of us,
like me, feel envy, wishing we’d been the one

to say something so perfect, knowing 
we will golly-darn at school like her fan club,
even though we hate her for being cute and clever,

five-foot-two, eyes of blue, even though
her eyes are black and match her roots.
After the movie we go to the schoolyard,

hoping for kisses under the stars,
but the boys chase each other, so the girls
ride the merry-go-round.

Between parallel bars, we run, make it spin fast
and jump on. Leaning back, we hold on
with our feet, heads and arms flying free,

the wind sweeping away
envy, budding bodies,
and boys.

She Dreamed of Shopping at Neiman Marcus until She Could 

 No longer a moth at the window,
she flew through the entrance.

Pierced by glares from salespeople,
she became a specimen on display.

After this out-of-wallet experience,
her attraction to glitter and glamour dimmed.

Yet, once again, she heaves open 
the store’s glass door letting sensory overload 

blur her vision. Though Siren women 
beckon from their beauty-for-sale islands, 

she escapes to the escalator
and catches herself humming

the canned music of the season:
Oh Come All Ye Faithful.

She stares at the rotating two-story 
Christmas tree and continues

her annual pilgrimage to return 
her mother-in-law’s gifts. 

Before this year’s cashmeres, she’d acquired
a $900 credit from prior holidays.

Not many people bank at Neiman’s.
She makes another deposit and leaves.