It’s only a dance

Tango and the art of paralysis

We come to dance
You standing there
And I here
Your eyes are bright, shining slight

A single word finds my lips, ‘dance’
I invite you
I turn out my toes
And offer you my hand left

You accept
I put my hand right on your back
You rest your arm on mine
I make it safe

It’s only a dance, only a dance and nothing more

I start to hum a single note
You feel it vibrate in my chest
The band strikes up
I wait for inspiration

We stand strangers there together
I don’t know your name
The guitars gently swell and weep
And it’s getting late

Right in front of you, face to face
Breast to chest
Couples dance around us
And still you wait for me to begin

It’s only a dance, only a dance and nothing more

We stand and go on standing
I’m in my centre, you’re on your axis
A natural obstacle like a single tree rooted
Forgotten in a farmer’s plowed field

I hear your silent plea for me to start
To take the first step, to lead so you may follow
Thirty second eternity in the eye of a hurricane
The music plays on

I notice your soft perfume
Your hair clip
The way light shimmers on the sequins of your dress
The touch of your skin under finger tips

I relax my embrace ever slightly, ever so
You fall away from the press of my chest
I imagine you are full of chocolate lava
And I am a hungry patisisier

It’s only a dance, only a dance and nothing more

How good it is to hold you close again
After letting you go
I breathe in snow and exhale fire
I am gentle, I am rain, I am a sweetheart, I am a killer

Your free leg suspended in the air
Hanging there like a slowly melting block of ice between us
The swelling crescendo, the singer’s dark timbre
The moments and the dancers passing us by

We end where we began
I peel myself away like a sticky label on a wine glass
Your eyes beseech me to explain
Instead I touch my nose to yours

I stand on my own once again
And watch another man take you in his embrace
Who has no hesitation in dancing your feet away
From the second bar

Maybe in another place
Maybe to another song
If it wasn’t so cold outside

Because it’s only a dance, only a dance — right?

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