Slow Dancing

by Kathryn Gahl

When the earth started its pull
on my father,
he went, a willow would,
shoulders cracking,
knees cranky – where’s the chair –
unless a big band came to town
laid reality at his feet
each ankle and toe-tapping beat
asked for a dance
and got its way, he,
nothing but a wisp of wheat
able to get up the Irish
in my mother, took her
across the floor, smoothed
her feathers except
the morning he found
her on the floor, eyes
glassy from a stroke,
he asked for one more
dance and she gave
him a stare,
a look of something longed for
or lost.

Kathryn Gahl’s past lives include being a model, barkeep, registered nurse, single parent, teacher, and trauma survivor. Now a writer and storyteller, she ballroom dances and befriends many. Her multi-genre works have won awards from Glimmer Train, Chautauqua, Margie, Talking Writing, New Millennium Writings, The Hal Prize, Wisconsin People & Ideas, and the Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award for 2019.

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