LINDA DRAJEM taught English for over 25 years to secondary students in the Buffalo Public Schools, and taught for nine years in the English department at Buffalo State College. In addition, she is a local writer, published in The Buffalo News, Trees of Surprise, and other publications, as well as in a recent volume of poetry, InnerSessions, along with two other poets. She continues to teach writing classes as a visiting poet to young people in local schools and older folks through University Express. She and her husband Robert travel often to Pennsylvania and Maryland to visit their sons, their spouses, and most importantly, their four beautiful grandchildren.

“Dance Lights”
We dance the cha-cha in the dim lights  
of my parents’ house one day in 1964. 
The record blares Oh baby oh baby  
do you wanna dance and we hold tight,  
swirling around their living room 
on the rose rug already threadbare 
from so many steps so many broken rules. 
After an embrace it’s time to go 
and we begin to plan tomorrows 
in the hall next to the shuttered milk box 
under a square of light from a naked bulb. 

Then a future twirls in our heads 
before sick babies and a dying father, 
before one son in Africa, 
and one across the continent. 
Aches of age grow in rooms we build 
and some friends die too soon.   
Now the morning sky looks bruised;  
a moonlight rim slips through the window.  
In our house we fold into each other 
every night to dream the cha-cha 
As we wait for those next steps; 
Do you wanna dance    oh baby