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―for Jim McLean

Everyone agreed the groom’s dad would
have been less nervous at his own wedding.
He showed how difficult dancing is
with left feet planted in two worlds—
one as a father, one as a son. He planned
a waltz with his mother, one,
two, three, practiced the steps, one, two,
three, rehearsed their circuit around
and around and around and around
the scuffed parquet, one, two, three,
one, two, three. All offered prayers,
hoping his eager gesture would be found
pleasing. On the suddenly lonely floor precise
positions were assumed and music started,

and in the shapeable notes perhaps someone felt
at last the reliable beat that gives us measure:
time doesn’t make our movements more sure;
we don’t always do the right things well.
We learn to dance as we learn to walk—
uncertainly until we earn our rhythm,
until we share the melody of our spirit
and it becomes gift to us as we quarter turn
out of the box step, travelling forward,
forward into a twirl more graceful and unending
than the revolution of the earth.


Larry Pike is a retired human resources manager. His poems have appeared in a variety of publications, most recently Capsule Stories and the debut issue of Briefly Write. He has work forthcoming in Jelly Bucket. He keeps hoping his writing will impress his granddaughters, but so far he’s not competing very well against Disney and Fortnite. Maybe one day. He lives in Glasgow, Kentucky. 

© 2020, Larry Pike

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