'They whirl out the door, the blue sky a sudden surprise'

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Pat Emile, who served as assistant editor to American Life in Poetry for over a decade, was described by past editor Ted Kooser as the “Jill-Of-All-Trades for this column”. I was fortunate enough to enjoy her sensitive ear for the rightly tuned poem, and her generosity as a liaison with poets, publishers and our collaborating periodicals, as a necessary component of the training for my tenure. It all makes sense, as Pat Emile is, herself, a poet of fine taste, lovely insight and, as evidenced in this poem (from column 580), 'They Dance Through Granelli’s', a poet with a remarkable eye for sensual detail. Thank you, Pat, for all you have done for American Life in Poetry, and for your gift of delightful verse. Her poem is a fit way to start this exciting re-launch of ALiP! 



by Pat Emile

He finds her near the stack
of green plastic baskets waiting to be filled
and circles her waist with his left arm,
entwines her fingers in his, pulls her toward him, Muzak from the ceiling shedding a flashy Salsa, and as they begin to move, she lets
her head fall back, fine hair swinging
a beat behind as they follow
their own music — a waltz — past the peaches bursting with ripeness in their wicker baskets,
the prawns curled into each other
behind cold glass, a woman in a turquoise sari,
her dark eyes averted. They twirl twice
before the imported cheeses, fresh mozzarella
in its milky liquid, goat cheese sent down
from some green mountain, then glide past
ranks of breads, seeds spread across brown crusts, bottles of red wine nested together on their sides. He reaches behind her, slides a bouquet
of cut flowers from a galvanized bucket, tosses
a twenty to the teenaged boy leaning
on the wooden counter, and they whirl
out the door, the blue sky a sudden surprise.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Pat Hemphill Emile, 'They Dance Through Granelli's'. Poem reprinted by permission of Pat Hemphill Emile. 

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