This Dance

Simone Forti

Only after the herd thunders past, then the chewing snapping locust swarm, then the boulder storm, only after all of these have carried themselves off into the collapsing distance does the gesture peek out from its hushed cave.

The ribbon unfurls from my wrist. A glass staircase bears the weight of fear. A feral pup  in its winter wool climbs to the cliff edge and readies its throat.

The wing, first opening, closes.

Opens again.

This dance is free of the burden of purpose. It is not to slim a waistline, beef up earning potential, make headway on a transcript, build community. This dance exists because it does. For that reason alone, it is here. Like an obsidian shard. A switchgrass blade. It has no need to explain. It came without invitation or even a name.

An icicle flashes on the willow limb. It is over, gone, before it has begun (almost). A bone clacks inside the skin of a boy. It is all of itself, entirely. It answers only the questions it decides to hear.

The very presence of this dance would seem nothing short of a miracle if anyone were in charge of miracles. Just think of the staggering odds against it — against any of what’s here, any of us — inhabiting the blink that is the time and place we believe holds everything and really holds only the half-beat between measures.

This dance spins out from the hull of my body. The hard pod surrenders and splits its seam wide. So sudden. On a surge of air it rises like milkweed fluff tearing free. One current then another carry seed and gesture off to where they will become (or not) something that the tethered stem will never witness. This dance escapes the confines of movement in shaped by flesh. It rides a momentum that began before I was zygote. It churns on well beyond the ends of me.

See there?

Watch the sky. Watch the soft naked place when you turn your arm up. You might catch its white tail whipping past as it disappears into a break in the clouds, into the  pores of you. Into the the melting river that swallows us.


Image: Dancer Simone Forti. Read more about her in this 2012 New Yorker piece.

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “This Dance”

  1. I would like to decorate this silence,
    but my house grows only cleaner
    and more plain. The glass chimes I hung
    over the register ring a little
    when the heat goes on.
    I waited too long to drink my tea.
    It was not hot. It was only warm.

    Linda Gregg’s Winter Love

  2. We learn to live without passion.
    To be reasonable. We go hungry
    amid the giant granaries
    this world is. We store up plenty
    for when we are old and mild.
    It is our strength that deprives us.
    Like Keats listening to the doctor
    who said the best thing for
    tuberculosis was to eat only one
    slice of bread and a fragment
    of fish each day. Keats starved
    himself to death because he yearned
    so desperately to feast on Fanny Brawne.
    Emerson and his wife decided to make
    love sparingly in order to accumulate
    his passion. We are taught to be
    moderate. To live intelligently.

    “The Danger of Wisdom” by Jack Gilbert

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