Danse Printemps et Quarantaine

Iain Haley Pollock

Near the end of my run
before the road turns steeply
uphill toward the house, I see
a girl alone on her front lawn.
The day is beautiful, cloudless
& cerulean, the latest in a string
of beautiful days. The girl has wound
her long black hair into a tight bun
& wears brown plastic-framed glasses
not unlike my own & dances.
If she is dancing to music, I can’t
hear it. But then I don’t listen too intently:
I want her to be dancing to music
only she can hear.

                                     I imagine the virus
has kept her out of a studio for months.
I imagine she has danced only
in her basement or to the blue glare
of a computer screen, disconnected
from the other dancers.

                                                Besides plié,
I do not have the language of dance
to describe the few moves she performs while
I run past. In the last one I catch, a Cubist
discombobulation of limbs, she arches
her back until her hands touch the ground
& then throws each leg separately
over her head in a movement that would,
if I attempted it, break into pieces
my embrittled body.

                                      Whatever I become
from here, I always want to be this girl.

I suppose, yes—dancing while people
are dying. Not out of callow or callous
indifference. But in celebration
of the dead. Celebration expressed
as survival. Survival expressed
as a clamant act of love, an act
not native only to me but practiced
until it resides in me, muscle & sinew,
an imperfect act that is the only one
I can think to do.

Dancing, until the imagined company
of dancers spins & bends around me, until
the music others cannot hear renders itself
visible in my body.

                     Dancing, until each passerby
believes again in cloudless & cerulean. Again
in this day & the possibility of the next.

Sponsored by the Friends of Rye Town Park

Iain Haley Pollock, "Danse Printemps et Quarantaine". Used by permission of Iain Haley Pollock.