Prelude to a Tango: A Poem
by Allen Peacher
This poem is dedicated to the life, work, and memory of Toi Shaw—dancer, teacher, lover of life
Two lovers entwined, close but distant, the heat from their cheeks felt by each, but nowhere does their skin touch… not yet
Across the room their eyes had fastened instant and quick, among all the crowded many which had then disappeared as instant and quick, and the beginning of their touch commenced from this impossible distance.
They found each other from miles away and felt then the imminent presence each of the other, fiery eyes never leaving their match
The man’s stride confident in its timidity
Her steps lithe and sure and meeting the floor in precise but unique correlation to his
With every step also came a harder thump in his chest, a flushing heat overwhelmed him as he anticipated with too much vigor the moment when he would feel her heat, and the tips of her fingers in the small of his back…
The blazing disks of her eyes swelled into twin moons and drew him closer with a longing to dive into those two impossibly perfect and clear-as-glass pools.
Plunging, he could
But never know
That his target
Would swallow him
Rather than shatter him
Suddenly she was close—not near enough to touch; but the sound of her shoes brushing the floor, the cloth of her dress against cloth and along her skin… and now he could hear her very heart beat, felt his heart stir in response, skip a beat, trying to find time with another heart… he feels another beat out of synch—was that his heart again or the other heart skipping, also seeking synchronous thunder with another?
There was only one last moment as they drew together; soon they will sink into each other and melt and with hearts in rhythm they will open the universe and dance within the unknown
One last dynamic moment with all the accreted power of an electric charge poised to snap with a lightning CRACK(!) prepared to spring with a SMACK(!) like a rubber band relaxed in release, and at the very end of that moment—a beginning far gone beyond “no return”—there was a sudden silent crash as they were finally flung together by the intensity of their purposeful steps, and the world was entirely still—
Only then did they hear the music
Only then did they decide to dance