Sunday, September 27, 1998

Dancing

*Dancing* (Raleigh, North Carolina, 27 Sep 98)
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My father before me
I see him now,
now solid and ridiculous
in his brown chair throne

But then...
Then he was light-- took my mother's wrist smoothly
gently, but firmly,
and planted the first steps that would bloom
to a blossomed foxtrot,
slide glide across the parquet floor,
shining back up the reflection of my mother:
Now a housewife past,
Then a diafanous cloud,
a driad swaying lazily and gracefully as a willow,
draped over my father's shoulder.

This pair that I never believed in as a boy
had only each other to believe in for so long
that they need no one else
and in their eyes I saw shine that same miracle
as they stepped out to "Take the 'A' Train"

Hard to believe
this stooped grey couple protecting each other
as they cross streets
once was the couple to watch on the dance floor
He the dashing Captain of Marines
tall and thin and dazzling in his Dress Blue uniform
And she the most beautiful and unusual woman
most men had seen
Oriental but dark, with an accent that melted men's hearts

They wrote letters as we do now, my love
never knowing for sure if they were right
for years they wrote,
talked about the little things of the day
things friends had said
what color shirt they had bought

Without instructions they found each other,
discovered the spell to conjure each other up
to hold each other when times were bad,
or just when they felt like holding each other
though they were physically three time zones apart

They held each other in their hearts
as we now hold each other in our hearts
your image as real to me now as the tear running down my face,
your voice as real to me now as the sound of the North Carolina wind

Let me hold your hands in mine
and press your fingers to my lips
and thank the universe
that we spent so much time holding hands
that we remember what it felt like
(remember-- my right hand in your left, mine behind yours)
I am with you now
and you with me
so close together
that we can hear each other breathing

Close your eyes
and listen to us laughing
so much like music
laughing
and the notes playing high and higher
and the floor beckoning
take my hands, Ă„lskling,
take my hands
and if this song sounds right to you,
Would you care to dance?
-Tim Allen

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