Poem: Dancing Dead

Against my father’s feet, mine were dolls’,

tip toeing on firm leather

to salute the same height he possessed.

Belt to chin, stomach to knees,

“Dance with me, Daddy,”

I said please.

 

Cradled back and forth sculpted into his bust,

we rocked to and fro

from heel to toe, as

I practiced my princess posture

against his knight-like stature.

 

Lifting my crown, he gently tapped on

my chin, angling it upwards

towards diamond-studded stars.

He whispered, “That will be you someday”,

Embraced me, then continued

 

shuffling up and down our front porch,

My loose arms hugging his waist,

his firm squeeze stabilizing my child’s slouch.

We swayed and danced;

He smiled.

 

Years later we danced for the first time

in decades. It was my wedding day.

He beckoned me to the dance floor

and we began the familiar whirl

back and forth.

 

“Remember the days?” he whispered,

and I hopped onto his aged feet

As they continued the tap, tap, tap

on the waxed wooden floor, like the sound of

scuffling feet on our old front porch.

 

His arms embraced my waist with a

gentle strength, and I had never

stood straighter. He brushed a vintage

hand underneath my chin so

I could gaze into his eyes, wise now,

like the wrinkles on his head.

 

It dawned on me then that he still saw

in me that little girl, and he would always be

clad in an admiring daughter’s armor. Yet

despite time ushering us ahead,

we would only carry on

Dancing dead.

 

By Katelyn (DP2)

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