Your Life in Dances

Your Life in Dances


One day you will not recall the Tango.

 The quick trail of the Foxtrot will have gone 

 cold—stepped out for good with the Twist, 

 the Hustle, and the Boogaloo.   


Then, from your seat by the window, 

 your life in dances may seem nothing more 

than the repetition of a single question  

asked and answered in a score    


of forgotten languages, in some gilded

ballroom or louche lounge, or in the open air

under swaying branches.  On that day,

 you may think the sun, warming your face  


 through the glass, an agreeable festoon, 

or the mirrored orb that shone down  

on the party like a god’s eye, witness 

to each tenuous first step, each turn 


and counter turn, and the little slide  

that left you somewhere else— 

alone at the punch bowl, or smiling

into the face of a stranger—as the beat,    


slow and sure, or wild as a faltering pulse 

went on and on, alive and voiced  

as the brown-suited crooner on the window 

sill, at whose invitation the soul   


rises, now, from the stiff chair of the body  

and steps once more and light as breath 

toward the whirling center, all 

strange light and startling music.  


  -- from Now, Now, Copyright © 2013. Used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.