Daily Archives: January 3, 2021

For the Fancydancers

revised from march 2020
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

within days
of the contagion’s start
something

took me over
rolled my hands into chafed red fists
started punching through my pale shell 

I spend my mornings now
watching fancydancing videos

little girls in jingle dresses
little boys in full regalia stomping
all raising their arms against contagion

on small and common
snow-iced lawns
on the edges of empty roads 

in furrows left
in winter land
by spring and summer plowing

all of them elsewhere west of here
beyond this city
crowded still

with unbelievers shopping
for safety from what
they don’t yet fully believe is already among them

is no longer a rumor of plague
east and west of here
but no, not here

west of here
people are dancing
toward healing

I think of my sister
sick as sick can be now
in her jingle dress at eighteen

whatever is inside me pokes me gently
reminds me of smallpox blanket stories
says

this is how you survive


Tunneling

It seems
that I’ve been walking
through a tunnel for
a long time;

one hand on
each damp wall,
pinprick light behind me,
pinhole of hope ahead;

the lights
before and behind
have winked out
and here I am —

cold wet hands,
tearing my fingers open
on stones I cannot see.
I stop for a moment,

listening to dripping water,
listening for something scrambling
through the dark
toward me — and while there’s

nothing at all besides me
in here, I’m certain,
I need to feel fear anyway.
I’ve been told the dark is

terrifying my whole life,
after all. I’ve been told that tunnels
hold danger at their core,
but all I feel here is space.

Perhaps I am the danger?
The stones whisper that to me.
I don’t know if they can be trusted.
I don’t know if I can trust myself,

alone with myself in the dark.