Silver stars were painted on the windows
by the time we started dancing,
dripping their way down the glass
and pooling in the window frames.
Most stayed outside,
but some dared to join us,
squeezing through a crack in the roof
and plinking into the bucket
placed in the middle of the blanketed floor
for just that reason.
Our feet tripped over each other
to avoid the pail of liquid sky,
a clumsiness we ignored when we could
and laughed off when we couldn't.
More than once that night
when the dancing wore us out
and left us sucking breath
into the space between our red-flushed cheeks,
someone ended up in someone else's arms,
one hiding exhaustion
by plucking popcorn wet with butter
from the bowl nestled into the corner
to hide the cracks in the ceramic's blue-green glaze
while the other crunched the kernel
between tired, smiling teeth,
managing to ignore the straw
scratching red marks into any exposed skin.
We washed down our jealousy
with hot chocolate, knowing it would be okay
only when the bite of the mug's chipped edge
hurt more than the pain in our chests.
Near the end, when the bucket's bottom
was padded with more than an inch of fallen stars,
we flung ourselves between the stables,
too tired to dance properly,
and laughed loudly enough
to drown out the pattering on the roof,
and found another container of whipped cream
to hide the white froth topping our hot chocolate
that had melted when we turned our backs.
We didn't look out the windows much then,
afraid that what we saw outside
would squelch our laughter under a muddy boot,
but when we did, we always saw ourselves
reflected in the panes of glass,
dancing among the stars.