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True to a wisper
The Dime
There is something I covet in my own isolation; something delicate and delicious in being on the outside, looking in. There is a power out here, in the rain.

I am dancing again. I arrive as silently as I can, disrobe the layers of protection I wrap around myself. My smiles are timid, my gaze does not linger. I am a stranger to this world. It makes my stomach flutter. Slowly, in moments of song or movement or stillness, I bloom. Reality becomes periphery, I shed skin that evaporate in the gathering mist. There is passion and connection and the divine. It is no fire, like the forge of my youth. It is a sorrowful fountain, it spills mystery across the floor. At times I stumble, and my body perhaps falls ill-tune, but that does not matter. In the dance, I am different. I am something greater.

And then it is over, and I shy away from the world that intrudes again. I do not begrudge it what it is - body sweat and parched lips and joints and aches and talk of tomorrow and the next. But I do not indulge in it. I wrap myself in my layers again, and I depart, happy that my mystery may sustain me.

The solitude that follows is so welcome. I feel alien to the streets and cars and loud, brass conversations at the cross-walks. I am a thing of another place, and I long to hold onto this sensation. If my soon-to-be-husband were not waiting for me at home on these nights, I might go walk along the cold river. If there were no one waiting for me at home, I might walk into the cold river. Smiling.

There once was a baker who worked at midnight. Late nights at the theater meant I would walk home in the dark, passing the bakery window, the kitchen at its busiest. Our eyes met more than once, half smiles shared in fleeting moments, starting to recognize each other. He was a handsome baker. Men like him don't want boys like me, I thought to myself, and I was okay with that, because we were separated by that pane of midnight glass. I could be the fey in the night, something almost unreal. Then one day he was out smoking when I walked by. We exchanged a few words, names (I don't remember his), and I never saw him again. The window had shattered, the distance had closed up, and I was found lacking.

I miss walking at night. I miss feeling divine and alien and alone in all the world. Out here in the rain, I can be anything. In there, in the light, in the crowd, I am a different story, and too easy to find lacking.

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I wrote this a long time ago, the summer we were at L'Homme Dieu, and I never showed it to you. But now I think I will.

Dancing Lesson, One A.M.

Zach and the sky are
praying to each other. The
firelight shadows flit
over the trees behind him
and make him a shadow,
too, a dark thing in
the wide grass, stretched
over the field and made
wild and tall. He’s dancing
out there. His shadow
swings and flashes and
once, there’s the slap of his
hands on his thighs. Behind
and above, so that the sky feels
heady and perfect and
together with him, the aurora
twists along in cool green.
Sometime later he comes
back to the campfire. We’re
quiet for a long time.

Thank you so much. This stirs a lot of emotion in me. Memory as well - it stirs up a remembrance of that night very clearly, felt more than seen by a mind's eye.

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