At the Viscount (2001)

Above busy Burnside Street they dance—graceful
Or awkward, sensuous or athletic, young and old—

A young woman, her face like a Renaissance Madonna
And a body full of curves, partners a rail thin man:
Gaunt-faced, white-haired, a coat-hanger torso
In a patterned Hawaiian shirt. His hands on her back splay
Out, giving her thin bird wings that tremble, a little,
But he is grace, as they move together, her body
Snaking down his, folding down on itself, accordion-
Like, then up and out, and he leans into her,
A dip, a pause—a beautiful pause bought with such control,
All the kinetic power stilled. His eyes are closed, and hers,
For a moment, see me watching her and him.
They don’t match, and yet they do… they dance.

Far away there is war, as there was 30, 60, 90 years ago:
Then and now, in halls like these, the men and women dance;
And in the sweet equation of sweat, and skin, and music,
There is the best formula for some connection—
Human and basic and graceful and glad—
There is a momentary cessation, a peace.


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