DANCER

Concept art for the poem.

He stands in the doorway of a hexagonal room

The sea air wafts through the open windows

Its night with only a crystal chandelier to give light

To his left is a wall of weapons

To his right a fireplace

He walks to the front of the fireplace

Atop its mantle is a chessboard

The squares are made of cararra and fior di bosco marble

He places a long necked vase onto the Queen’s space

Asiatic lilies are painted all around the base

He uncorks the vase and slides the cork into his right breast pocket

From the wall of weapons he pulls off a Tai Chi sword

He raises the blade above his head with his right arm

While simultaneously lifting his left arm and leg

He pinches together all but the index and middle finger of his left hand

“For the World,” he calls into the air

The song from the Hero soundtrack by Tan Dun plays loud and clear

He slides his left foot back as the knee of his right leg bends

He simultaneously thrusts the sword and his left arm forward

The Tai Chi sword moves fluidly as he uses the sword and his feet to attack

To ward off imaginary enemies he transits the sword to his left hand

When his body is warm he returns the flexible Tai Chi sword to its rack

Now he takes hold of a katana that was folded a thousand times

He slips its sheath through the belt of his dress pants

“Seven Samurai,” he says

Fumio Hayasaka’s music plays all around him

The blade’s sharp edge is up as he draws it out

He moves rapidly, mostly with both hands on the hilt

The steel on his tap shoes click with every lunging movement he makes

But he is not interested in the rapidness of a fighting style right now

Instead the attack and defense movements are drawn out

To emphasize emotion

When he is done he kneels and places the sword before him

He sets his left hand followed by his right onto the floor 

And bows deeply

He sits up placing his right hand on his right thigh first

With another slight bow he places the sheathed katana back on its rack

Now he stands with soft knees

“Play,” he says

Falls from Ennio Morricone’s The Mission soundtrack fills the room

He inhales as he raises his arms above his head

His wrists flex so the tops can be used to block

When his arms reach above his head he begins to exhale

Pressing down with his wrists extended to strike

Three times he repeats this movement

Closing his eyes he waits to a count of seven

Before raising his right hand to take her left

He encircles her upper back with his left arm

He feels her right hand resting on his left shoulder

Inhaling deeply he smells the intoxicating scent of lilacs from her hair

The sound of Wallace Courts Murron from James Horner’s Braveheart soundtrack pours through the room

He feels her body press up against his

The beat of her heart matches his

Both increasing as they move faster

Her voice hums to the sound of Am I Not Merciful from Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator soundtrack

Causing his steps to falter but for a moment

Her hips squeeze firmly into his as Promontory from Randy Edelman and Trevor Jones’ The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack blares through the room

She moves away from him so only their hands are touching

They hold up each other’s weight as they dance in circles

He pulls her closer again and she lays her cheek onto his chest as Elysium from Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator soundtrack plays

When the song ends his hands hold only empty air

His eyes open and at first he feels disoriented

Soon he takes out the cork and kisses it

Diligently he presses it into the top of the vase with his left hand

Not realizing his right hand is resting on the King’s square

D.W. June 2021

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