The Goodbye Party (John Mackey of the Baltimore Colts)

The Goodbye Party

While some were swirling drunk on the dance floor,
Holly cried goodbyes into
empty beer bottles and tipped wine glasses, and
half-eaten cake,
some smeared on her jeans.
She was in disbelief of
such a dreamy move to Key Largo
and
John Mackey of the old Baltimore Colts was
signing autographs.

The song was “Satisfaction” and Ron
clutched and gasped like Jagger back then
and sang it from the floor dirty.
He didn’t care.
He had already slid across it with Coco and Sylvia in a dance
that seemed primitive and animal and
private except for obstinate clothes. We were all watching mouths open.
It was really just another exhibition. He had already swung across the rafters just to make the crowd go “Oooh” like
I imagine all the young girls said when he was
twenty-three.

Holly grabbed the microphone. Over the hip hop,
she cried “Thank you, oh, i love you” to those
still hot jiving on the dance floor, fast and boogie feet,
and holding each other up with hugs and clapping for Holly.
She didn’t think about the move,
only the flashing moment,
the blood bursting in the arteries of her heart from the heat of it.

Ron slow danced alone
and friends thought to steal his keys.
Holly slurred more goodbyes to the scattering crowd of ten.
They would miss her in the morning,
after the hangover and back in the reality of it all.

John yelled “Touchdown”—
his Alzheimer’s making the tavern seem unfamiliar
and the field
much closer and more brilliant.

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