We Could Be Dancing Already

Jennifer K. Sweeney

We could be dancing already

each of us a body in a field

of air, canvas-like, absorbing our postures.

Subway riders tilted with the shapes of departure

surgeons parting the swinging doors,

every person managing the weight of their gear.

Those who tend the pain-body and must

never stop listening.

Those who have found themselves

swimming in heavy weathers.

The fraught decisions—the unrequited—a dance of faults

and fractures, of planes shifting over each other

and sliding apart. A dance of darkening to nearly night

and becoming progressively lighter upward.

Or a dance when the floor suddenly releases its trap.

To move in the ordinary ways,

the raised hand, bending toward shoes,

love-in-idleness, on knees planting or praying,

balancing a child upon hip for years is a practice

that sways the weight left to free the right more capable.

We meet each other in the familiar forms

adjusted by degrees

each of us tangoing our matter

as self and cargo, as actor and shelter and natural history

laying it down raising it up

in a field of air that you and you press again into

worry into

slide into

collapse into


Baby body nested into youth into sexual body upon decades,

we become the strata of our former selves

moving afield in the air we make warmer

through it with our persistent tumbling,

born into it, slow-dancing out.

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