James Norcliffe


vice versa party

dressed as Groucho in a pinstriped
suit with a slouched Fedora dipped
acidly over one eye

horn-rimmed glasses a mournful stare
and a black bootbrush moustache smeared
above her lip, smudged like a sigh

my mother darkly taking stock
my father in a floral frock
grins beside her, legs astride,

a pastiche of Margaret Dumont
stripped of all hauteur, an affront
to grace, to feminine pride

he holds a beer, she a cigar;
she’s bound her chest, he’s in a bra,
but bare-legged for the hair

later they’ll dance
                                     she’ll take the lead,
but he’ll stumble backwards on heels
and she’ll have to hold him there

the foxtrot, the Boston Two Step
the Valetta Gay Gordons – cheap
laughs at his armpits, bum roll,

              the floor is chalked, slippery
she’ll hold him there, her mockery,
her sugar, her honey, her doll




Author’s Note


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