THE GIRL IN THE GOWN
for A. E. Stallings
What I learned at a prom, not in a class,
dancing in the dark, holding what I knew,
it's the girl in the gown gives it its class.
I may have been callow, may have been crass,
but I never forgot, never outgrew
what I learned at that prom, before in class.
True content wears form like filling a glass,
content poured anew or as an old brew,
like the girl in the formal radiates class.
Though long gone's the corsage and the band's brass,
eye will testify, throat do and redo
what I learned at the prom, not in a class.
If asked to teach it you'll never surpass
the best you can do that's mere déjà-vu
of what's learned at a prom for the whole class.
So take it right here and not for a pass,
that's what to pursue, there's nothing in lieu
of learning at a prom, not in a class,
that the girl in the gown gives it its class.