ADMITTEDLY BRIEF EXCURSIONS IN SLOW DANCING
First there were the Trundle sisters
with their improbable last name, trailer park
aesthetic, hair stiff with sprayed destruction,
pouncing in the gym darkness loud with saccharine power
ballads. That I was making an exit
hardly mattered. Clubfooted pity pressed me
and not the farm-fed sag of their breasts
or the basins of their pelvises
while others rocked in rehearsals of the flesh.
And then there were the twins,
the Mountjoy girls, dark and lovely:
one had decided how
to bring her body to mine, to lean close,
mindful of no awkwardness.
The kiss to my neck which terrified me.
And nothing more for years,
though once in a theater parking lot
a girl helped me to stand
who could never decide to love me or leave.
Against her I foolishly sang
the obvious from My Fair Lady,
which we were leaving,
washed in two hours of Technicolor,
happy for the lobby’s pride in Ernest Borgnine
once being there. As were we
before it burned in the shadow of the town’s clocktower.
Years she’d bloodied herself
with ballet’s brutal en pointe,
a pain in her past that even now I romanticize.
And in mine the romance
of plain sight, how I danced
once during a concert with a woman I loved,
whose muslin shirt I kept,
who would change into it,
who would for me shed it when asked,
even in the light. Our bodies
in that bottled-up din were indistinct.
Invisible, almost, as we had tried
to be. In her married arms
we swayed, our balance hard to keep.