Carol Lee Vail Prize Runner-up 2021


        by Alinda Dickinson Wasner

And, oh, finally, tonight
The husbands are away,
(Who knows where?)
so, we roll up the carpet
shove the furniture back against the wall
and someone brings out finger zills from a purse,
and another reaches up under her shirt
whisks off her bra and we all laugh
like the girls we once were
and for an entire night
belly dance to Hachig Kazarian and Ramzy
shimmying around the room
until so hot and sweaty
I throw open the French doors to the back yard
and after we dance some more,
we sprawl naked on the grass beneath the silver maple in full moonlight
each leaf shimmering like a silver coin.
branches dividing the sky into constellations
as if from a chapter in 1001 Arabian Nights
and for a while we take turns being Scheherazade,
telling each other all the reasons why our own husbands
might think they would have cause
to have us sewn into the carpet
and thrown into the Bosporus come morning.