Various and Sundry Poetry

desert dancer

When you dance in the middle of a desert
you are cheating time, beating Nature at her own
impossible hand, knocking at the door of Gravity's
starchly organized house. Can you feel the tightrope of your body
slackening, abandoning its stocky stiffness?
See how quickly you tumble from your learned rhythms,
your tuneful dips and sashays.
On this particular earth it is all dearth and want,
a dustbowl of not quite enough,
but the peace you are looking for is here, too,
absent of its water weight, its burbling excess.

In this desert, it is neither green nor gentle,
but it is also mountainless, and in this low, dry place
you will see your nakedness, your barren landscape,
your heat and loss and hunger. You will be unable to retreat
to shade or shadow, because there will be neither, just a single
plane of visible light, the one dimension of yourself you have somehow,
in all this time, never quite introduced yourself to.
But because you are in this desert, you will have no choice,
this unfamiliar ghost will be the only other body there,
and you will bend to it, stretch yourself beyond words,
beyond the usual reinforcements, the doorways you like to hide behind,
you will reach down into a different kind of darkness
and take the hand that is offered to you.