At the Viscount

Above busy Burnside Street, they dance:

a 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 vibrant Hawaiian shirt.


His hands on her back splay out, fledge there

thin bird wings that tremble a little, but he is grace

as they move together, her body snaking down

his, folding in on itself, accordion-like,

then unfolding as he slowly leans into her—

a dip, a pause, a calm bought with such control—

all that 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.


Outside there is conflict, far away, war—

as there was years, centuries ago—and yet

then and now, in halls like these, they dance:

and in the sweet equation of sweat and skin

and in the musicians’ beat, a pulsing heart,

there is a formula for some connection

human and basic and graceful and glad:

there is a momentary cessation—

a peace.




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