Torch Song

Lucky that you love me!
Lucky that you care!
Thought you’d treat me roughly
if I were to try
to attract your eye,
so I didn’t dare.
Then one day you saw me
sulking in the corner.
No one came to paw me.
No one even tried!
Guess they thought I’d died!
Only you, a mourner,
staring at me there
with a solemn look
on a face so fair
I near fell apart
pounding with my heart.
Half the ballroom shook!
You came over then,
smiling, saying Hello,
different from other men,
smarter, I thought, somehow,
making your slight bow,
voice so soft and mellow.
Later, asking you
how it was you married
—I was feeling blue—
plain and simple me,
music ceased, and we
talked the while we tarried
on the muffled floor
waiting for the band to
play our song once more.
This is what you said:
“Dearest, your sweet head,
filled with bunk they hand you
—utterly unreal
books and films and such—
having the ideal
constantly in mind,
searching, will not find
answers overmuch.
Love has many reasons,
being what it is:
many different seasons
drifting in and out,
flowering in doubt,
freezing in a kiss. . .”
You fell silent then,
but the music rolled!
I felt gay again,
happy with alarm
dancing against the storm
which your words foretold!

E. M. Schorb has published several collections of poetry, including Time and Fevers: New and Selected Poems (AuthorsHouse, 2004), which was chosen as a 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award winner; A Fable & Other Prose Poems (2002), Murderer's Day (1998), winner of the Verna Emery Poetry Prize; 50 Poems (1987); and The Poor Boy and Other Poems (1975); and a chapbook, Like the Fall of Rome and Other Humanitarian Disasters (1980). He is also the author of two novels: Paradise Square, which won the International eBook Award Foundation's Frankfurt eBook Award for "Best Fiction work originally published in eBook form," and Scenario for Scorsese (both Denlinger's Publishers, 2000). His poems and prose have appeared in Best American Fantasy 2007, as well as The American Scholar, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Chattahoochee Review, Chelsea, The Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Texas Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Yale Review, among other journals. His honors include Fellowships in Literature from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council, and grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund for Authors, and Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for illustrations in The Poor Boy). He lives in Mooresville, North Carolina.