Wolf in Dress Blues

The girls from the Catholic college all love
a close-shaved cadet. Before parties you curl your hair
with soup cans, lotion legs against your stockings
& the crinolines of party dresses. All down the hall 
girls primp. They powder their décolletage, blot
pinked lips & smile for their vanities, 
check for lipstick on their polished teeth. At the Army ball,
in kitten heels, your updo teased & sprayed, 
you could be anyone’s girl. You’re his because 
when you took him home for supper your aunts all asked 
what a nice tall man like that was doing
with a girl like you, because when you waited in the stairwell
of your mother’s house that summer evening
& saw his Cadillac cruising up your childhood street
your heart was pounding like the whole
brass band. Which must be love.

Nancy Reddy is the author of Double Jinx (Milkweed Editions, 2015), a 2014 winner of the National Poetry Series, and Acadiana (Black Lawrence Press, 2018). Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Blackbird, The Iowa Review, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. The recipient of a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, she teaches writing at Stockton University in southern New Jersey.