Dancing Day I, Dancing Day II
Dancing Day I
At the horizon’s lit fog rim
earth keeps in touch with sky.
I call this the end of the beginning.
In its mist, frayed ghosts of selves drowse;
I call them my lost selves.
Lately they drift close, unaging,
watching me age. Now & then, one or some
flare up, known shapes in known clothes.
Each of them is not not me, and wears
the clothes I walked in, joked, worked hurt in,
as I played my sweet pipsqueak part
paradiddle on the high hat.
I still know all those moves.
I begin to remember; I remember them,
some from when my father was alive.
A deep breath taken. Restorative.
They hum soft part-songs, hard to hear.
And now they’re singing. They’ve come to stay!
It’s turning into a party.
I put out bread, plates, glasses, grapes,
apples, napkins, pretzels, Bleu des Causses.
They whistle old signals. In our one name
we agree to our selving. I do agree.
I’ll propose a toast,
why not. Time to let go. Get going.
Out of the cellar I take, ripe,
the rest of the case of Clos de Vougeot.
Dancing Day II
Once, one made many.
Now, many make one.
The rest is requiem.
We’re running out of time, so
we’re hurrying home to
gether for the general dance.
We’re past get-ready, almost at get-set.
Here we come many to
dance as one.
Plenty more lost selves keep arriving, some
we weren’t waiting for. We stretch and
lace up practice shoes. We mind our manners—
no staring, just snatching a look
—strict and summative—
at each other’s feet & gait & port.
Every one we ever were shows up
with world-flung poor triumphs
flat in the back-packs we set down to greet
each other. Glad tired gaudy
we are more than we thought
& as ready as we’ll ever be.
We’ve all learned the moves, separately,
from the absolute dancer
the foregone deep breather
the original choreographer.
Imitation’s limitation—but who cares.
We’ll be at our best on dancing day.
On dancing day
we’ll belt out tunes we’ll step to
till it’s time for us to say
there’s nothing more to say
nothing to pay no way
pay no mind pay no heed
pay as we go.
Many is one; we’re out of here,
exit oh and save
this last dance for me
on the darkening ground
looking up into
the last hour of left light
in the star-stuck east,
its vanishing flective, bent