Your wife had left you post-diagnosis
yet here you were this night stumbling on fire
with dance and blood,
a retired high school Spanish teacher,
now learning the new syntax
of multiple sclerosis.
It burned from your hands and feet,
the castanets, the dark mole
on the flamenco dancer’s cheek,
All the broken stomping, clapping,
duende of dark.
We stumbled into the lighted lobby
where you grabbed my friend and me,
said we must all go now,
tonight, for roja, for wine,
for the dance and the darkness.
But we sad women demurred
to the rain in our hearts,
afraid of the blood call.
We scurried like mice into hoods, coats,
another night we promised.
But it would not come again.
I knew then that I had
been called, chosen,
and all these years have remembered only
what it was like not to go.
Note from the poet: I hope wherever Lew is, he will remember
that night and accept my regretful apology. Lorca writes: “duende is a power
and not a behavior, it is a struggle and not a concept.” These are the moments
we live for.
For more poetry, see mnartists’ “What Light.”