Last Dance by Mel Goldberg

My granddaughter, just old enough to stand
alone at her first birthday party, clung
in giggling pleasure to my father’s hand
as they both waltzed across the room among
an anxious family, poised to intervene.
No relatives were able to explain
the nonsense sounds we all heard pass between
the old man and the child. Yet it was plain,
beyond enjoyment of their festive dance
we understood one certainty as true:
at ninety he delighted in the chance
to hold her little hands in his, yet knew
time’s stalking unavoidable advance,
that he’d be forced to leave before she grew.


Mel taught literature and writing in California, Illinois, Arizona, and Cambridgeshire, England. He and his wife traveled throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico for seven years in a motor home working at RV parks. They live in Mexico with other ex-pat artists and writers.