Slow Dance by Matthew Dickman



Slow Dance

More than putting another man on the moon,

more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga,

we need the opportunity to dance

with really exquisite strangers. A slow dance

between the couch and dinning room table, at the end

of the party, while the person we love has gone 
to bring the car around

because it’s begun to rain and would break their heart

if any part of us got wet. A slow dance

to bring the evening home, to knock it out of the park. Two people

rocking back and forth like a buoy. Nothing extravagant.

A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey.

It’s a little like cheating. Your head resting

on his shoulder, your breath moving up his neck.

Your hands along her spine. Her hips

unfolding like a cotton napkin

and you begin to think about how all the stars in the sky

are dead. Then my body

is talking to your body slow dance.

The Unchained Melody, 
Stairway to Heaven, power-cord slow dance.

All my life

I’ve made mistakes. Small 
and cruel. I made my plans.

I never arrived. I ate my food. I drank my wine.

The slow dance doesn’t care. It’s all kindness like children

before they turn four. Like being held in the arms

of my brother. The slow dance of siblings.

Two men in the middle of the room. When I dance with him,

one of my great loves, he is absolutely human,

and when he turns to dip me

or I step on his foot because we are both leading,

I know that one of us will die first and the other will suffer.

The slow dance of what’s to come

and the slow dance of insomnia

pouring across the floor like bath water.

When the woman I’m sleeping with

stands naked in the bathroom,

brushing her teeth, the slow dance of ritual is being spit

into the sink. There is no one to save us

because there is no need to be saved.

I’ve hurt you. I’ve loved you. I’ve mowed

the front yard. When the stranger wearing a sheer white dress

covered in a million beads

comes toward me like an over-sexed chandelier suddenly come to life,

I take her hand in mine. I spin her out

and bring her in. This is the almond grove

in the dark slow dance.

It is what we should be doing right now. Scrapping

for joy. The haiku and honey. The orange and orangutang slow dance.


Matthew Dickman