The Starkey Flythe Jr. Memorial Prize
Waltz me out the ballroom door away
from the burnished parquet floor
into the pearly dew.
Pretend Jane Austen lives
and has destined us to rendezvous.
For now, a dance upon the lawn for sport.
Nosegay, bonnet, blush—in the manner
of the manor we will court:
sachet of flowers’ breath at dusk,
scented note concealed inside a book,
earnest whispers at the harpsichord,
along the cobbled lane a knowing look.
Meeting at the stone bench
where the footman liked to drink his beer,
the almost-touch of parted lips,
the almost-taste of salt behind the ear.