Praise song for the dancers.
Face buried in her warm bread smell,
I cannonballed into dreams of flying;
she kept watch with one good eye
trained on roaches in the ceiling.
As I cannonballed into the next flight
she said Just a little while,
good eye trained on roaches in the ceiling,
in the room beneath the church of the sisters.
Just a little while, she said,
bandage over other eye
applied by sisters after landing,
and changed it when she thought I could not see.
Bandage over blinded eye,
she left the bed when I slept
to change it somewhere where I could not see,
and then she danced.
She left the bed when I slept
for a basement where music played
and then she danced
with the women in a circle, and they laughed.
In a basement where music played
danced Leti, and Patrice, Maria and Janae,
these women in a circle and they laughed,
away from the men they had survived.
Danced Gina and Kira, Shondra and Renee,
and my mother, and I, for the time being,
away from the men we had survived —
and you should have seen her dance.
This one first appeared in High Shelf, 2019.