Poem of the Month
Tabagie Arsenault, 1920–1972

By Marc Plourde

Published on April 2, 2017

Arsenault’s Tobacco Magazines Novelties is closing:
everyone has locked arms and is dancing.
The Arsenaults have given away flags, trinkets,
greeting cards from the ’40s. Everyone dances
so that the floor shakes like the floor of a boat
while musicians huddle in a corner,
hardly noticing the audience,
and young men shouldering film cameras
as they circle the dancers
record for reasons known to film students
a rum bottle changing hands,
the singer’s face, the girl next to me,
her blue eyelids and fingernails —
and there’s a small dog here unseen by the cameras;
as the floor shakes, as the floor rolls, he jumps
straight up and barks at the noise everywhere.

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