Night at the Roller Palace
After the birthday crowds thin out, after the “Hokey Pokey” and “Chicken Dance,” after the parents have towed their shaky kids like cabooses ready to decouple and the pint-sized skaters have circled the rink like a gang of meerkats spun into a 10-car pileup, you turn sideways and angle by as “Another One Bites the Dust” thumps overhead. You give a finger point to the DJ stand because, in your mind, we are soldiers in the march against time, grooving to the retro beat while the disco ball shines overhead cut crystal against rainbow walls. You glide like Mercury or Apollo Ono without wings or skin suit, in low-rider jeans that hug your body like you hug corners, pass them all on the smoothed-out parquet floor, worn down by time and rhythm. The trick is to make it look effortless, remind them that your quickness is a kind of love. You are the spark between wood and wheel. And when your cranky kids hang out by the wall ready to go, holding those eight wheels by their brown leather tongues, you give them a wave and keep circling, Just one more song, you say. This is your “me” time. It’s all-skate. You’ve got your whole self in— That’s what it’s all about.
Originally published in Sou’wester. Copyright © 2012 by January Gill O’Neil. Used with the permission of the author.
January Gill O’Neil
January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014), winner of a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, and Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Date Published: 2018-03-06
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/night-roller-palace