rigid, classic, like parentheses
trapping a flutter of sparrows
mid-theft, chicken coop, after grain.
No match for hers, corseted tight,
white-laced, as she denied my bid
to diagram our pas de deux
across the ballroom floor. A feud,
two stern teachers, each certain —
how to construct the perfect sentence,
our grammar book of would-be love,
unbound, sections lying random
among whirling couples, the chapter
beneath us, ironically, open to rules
on passive voice, page thirty-three.