Sleepover, 1953

Gangs roam the small streets
Jazz clubs begin to open
Brownstones light up hidden libraries
Artists brush against the night
Cafes corner the crowds
The Village wakes in the dark.

We throw our uniforms in a heap
Brush on red hot lipstick
And blot.
We roll our lashes with mascara
Pinch our toes in pointed pumps
And practice how to walk.

We sip Coke, suck candy
Puff on cigarettes and choke coughing spasms
Behind the closed door.

The curtains flutter against the window guards
As the soprano sings and the sirens screech
Against the Late Show and cool white pillows
We whisper in the dark.

GINNY ROSENBLATT is a poet who lives in Quogue, New York.