Sept/Oct 1999 spotlight

Slow Tango

by Silvia Antonia Brandon Pérez


Slow Tango

today i'll master but one tango step,
and practice all the ones I learned before,
in the second room, while little girls en pointe
paint timid circles on the splintered wood
amidst a gaggle of gossiping mothers
waiting for rain, for love, for anything
to break the litany of dishes,
dirty clothes and sweat

i cannot forget the smell of your laughter
by the scorching sands of the mediterranean,
old burnished floors of umber wood
in your father's house, mountain and sea
but one remembrance, your eyes greener
than first growth in april, your smile
the envy of seagulls, a wistful
sighing of doting women in

faded aprons, walking along
fractured sidewalks, geraniums
in bright red clusters on the walls,
your eyebrows gathered in a frown of thunder
in bad weather, which lasted but one hour
and you a smell of lavender regrets
trellised along your poet's words
climbing the windows and the minutes

i ate of your words, slept with your roses
dreamt in the language of your father
a poem bleeding for days before its birth
clouds and old sand and bitter marigolds
inside me someone waited for a sign
for the opening of the door
for the practiced tango step

today i will learn but one new tango step


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