Saturday Night You

For Mom 

Back then, we knew 

Saturday nights  

were for you— 

for VFW and KC halls, 

old and scratched hardwood floors 

topped with too-little sawdust  

and the steady beat of a too-loud bass. 

We’d watch Hee Haw,  

sink into our beanbag chairs,  

feel the anticipation of your evening 

in the crisp musky scents  

of perfume and hairspray  

drifting down the hall from the bedroom. 

Was it White Diamonds and Breck? 

These are the details that have begun 

to slip away  

as I am now the age you were  

back then. 

But what doesn’t slip away is that— 

back then, 

I thought you were far prettier than the prettiest 

of the country music stars, 

Loretta and Tammy and Dolly,  

and yet your life, too: a ballad set to  

the whine of steel guitars. 

Daddy would shine his boots  

as he waited for you in the kitchen  

and even though he never said:  

“You look amazing,” 

(and we told him to) 

we could see his eyes soften  

when you walked into the room— 

slim-fitting pants (to show off your curves) 

flowing blouse (comfortable for jitter-bugging) 

and your worn-smooth, suede moccasins 

that slid across dance floors 

like soft butter on warm bread. 

Back then,  

we knew, once you were there 

you’d request songs from the band, 

make them stop and bend down to you, 

to listen from the stage. 

They knew you well— 

your smile, your sway,  

your favorites: 

Conway, Charlie, Moe, Patsy  

and Hank. 

Back then, 

I wanted your drive,  

your sparkle, 

your easy charm. 

But now, 

I’m quite jealous of that  

Saturday Night You, 

that woman who could  

let go of bills, baths, suppers, kids 

and embrace the joy of a two-step,  

a drink setup, a Freddy Fender love song. 


I’ll ask you for your secrets— 

How to make a musician  

forget the refrain 

just by walking to your table. 

How to spin with balanced grace 

even after midnight and seven beers. 

How to pretend, at least until  

the band’s next break,  

that life isn’t a crap shoot. 

And mostly, 

how to make your 40s 

(at least one night a week) 

as good as a Singapore Sling going down 

And a slow fiddle 

in a long Texas waltz. 

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