|June Snow Dance
A piddling of summer snow
has fallen around the bookshop
where Walter and Norman, both
in their eighties, romp barefoot
in the scalloped drifts. The chill
refreshes, but the hot June sun
fevers a cloudless sky, and soon
the village skateboarders will laugh
at the old men dancing barefoot
in puddles too slack to drown them.
I’d join their performance but
I’m not old enough to stifle
the shyness that excludes me
from the humbler sorts of fun.
Look at Walter’s flaccid jowls
flapping as he dances the dance
of five years of war in Iraq.
Note how Norman’s beard deploys
in waggish patterns as he dances
the dance of Sudan’s genocide.
A crowd has gathered to enjoy
this ancient couple acting out
the agonies of daily news.
I envy their insouciance,
their grasp of unheard music
but the snow has almost melted
and as they grow tired their wives
step forward and hand them their shoes.
I slink away as if ashamed
to witness such makeshift art.
But I’m pleased that two old fellows
could out-dance the Morris dancers
that every year depress me
with their tinkle-bells and wooden steps
too mechanical to evoke
the crimes of a world too large
to comprehend, the snowfalls
of late June usually ignored
like the middle-class embarrassment
of Walter and Norman’s wives.
by William Doreski
William Doreski's work has appeared in numerous journals. His recent collection is Another Ice Age (AA Publishers, 2007). He teaches literature and writing at Keene State College (NH).
© 2007 William Doreski