Marsh Hawk Review is an online poetry journal sponsored by the Marsh Hawk Press collective. Marsh Hawk Review will appear twice a year, under the revolving editorship of collective members. Each issue will offer a selection of poems solicited by the editor, in addition to new work posted by poets in the collective.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Annabelle Moseley

Learning to Dance

for M.P.

My entrada, my entrance has come.
I have waited years for this—
and I enter in an eight-panel cobalt skirt,
black leotard, nailed shoes,
the pale-haired dancer in the mirror of dark women
learning our first footwork, taconeo,
listening for compas, beat,
trying the first rhythmic palmas
we never knew waited in our hands.
We are taught to move our arms
like brightly ordered moons
around the planets of our bodies,
the space between, like cut-out galaxies.
My fingers take to the feel of the black castanets,
morse code of click and clap.
We learn to move our feet in hammering plantas,
stamping soles against the floor,
our necks, elongating into long sketch-scrawls,
our hips and legs pliant as clay,
new-made art.
I feel violently beautiful,
moving like the dancer I knew I could be.
Other moments, my legs and feet are rooted,
unable to move simultaneously
with my arms and fingers.
During these moments, when my body does not go
the way my dreams do,
or turn as advanced students,
I want to tell my teacher, wait—
flamenco is inside me
and even if I need to practice for years,
haunting your class like a lingering question,
I will learn what you teach. My entrada has come.

*****

Duende

is the force that inspires flamenco,
spontaneous spirit,
essence behind every motion,
trill, and cry, even the grimace of sorrow
mixed with joy that takes the dancer’s face.
A woman is taught
to dance without a man, all moves whole
within her body,
filled by self-expression.
She is taught to dance
to the gypsy beat of God—
as the soul journeys,
not needing to be led.

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