My Mother Sends Me an Obituary of a Kid I Went to Middle School With by George Briggs

Which reminded me of those middle school dances
when we would slow dance to “Under the Bridge”
the end-of-the-dance song, the finale
the last chance to be close
to your crush or watch your crush
dancing with someone else under
taped up streamers or maybe balloons
for Valentine’s Day that turned
from blood-red to bruise-purple
in the swaying darkness.

Or maybe there weren’t decorations at all
just that tired PA system and the CDs
we brought from home. Someone’s older
brother would play DJ
press play and watch the bodies
rock methodically in the deep echo
next to each other like little double metronomes
pale as opium ghosts
the sound closed in and caught
by the cinderblock and drop ceiling
the song the ode to a city and a drug
that some of us would get to know
better than others. 

That was the way it used to be
when we were all alive
when we used to sway.

George Briggs is a poet and high school teacher from Providence, Rhode Island. His poems have appeared in The Shoutflower, South Florida Poetry Journal, Door Is A Jar Magazine, and elsewhere.