Sunday, October 23, 2011


This poem was first published in Bellowing Ark, under the title "The Dance."

Years earlier, we had waltzed
all night at Octoberfest,
Keith’s dancer’s thigh wedged
between my legs as he
whirled me breathless.
We ate breakfast at a Pancake
House at 5 am. Gesturing
with his fork, he
explained the fundamental
difference between us. I liked
people, he said, and he didn’t.

I spent my fortieth birthday
on a stone bench, facing the
gray waters of English Bay,
a block from St. Vincent’s Hospital
where Keith lay dying. I
thought of the man who loved
too much to like anyone. I heard
his voice, not hoarse with death,
but bright with annoyance,
scolding, tossing criticisms
like Mardi Gras beads. I felt
again his arm wrapped
around my torso, lean
muscle guiding my hips
in wrought iron spirals
around a wooden floor.

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