Priscilla Atkins • Dancing Queen

I made tapes from the oldies station:
60’s stuff – the Mama’s and the Papa’s,
the Stones, Diana Ross and the Supremes,
early 70’s – Janis Joplin,
Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt,
theme music to television shows,
movies –
Hawaii Five-O, Shaft,
songs I could shake my hips to,
snap and twirl, dip and slide.
I didn’t have much furniture
and those evenings I left the shades up,
turned the lights low, I glided across
the square of white carpet onto the wood
floor making way for something large
and luminous, maybe Gladys Knight
and her midnight train.

I always danced barefoot. It was summer
and you can grip better that way.
The better to shimmy with,
my dear.
That year I was my own wild doe
slipping through a timeless dusk
after a decade of salt-blue waves
hula-ing around my days,
the familiar rhythm of a man
handling my mornings, shinnying up
my evenings, until I woke
alone on this shadowy shore,
each footfall, flutter of fingers,
spot-lit and significant;
above me, the violet-studded night
pounding the beat to Bobby McGee –
busted flat, and free.