- Dance for Me You Six-Plumed Bird of Paradise
So I take off even my socks, climb onto the countertop and mimic beauty like I’m not a bag stuffed with gizzard and bone. But it doesn’t feel right. In the wild, only the males dance. But this dirty kitchen isn’t nature, and it doesn’t feel right. And it doesn’t feel good, until it occurs to me that I’m not drunk, not high, well, maybe a little, but that this is easily dismissed and not the entry point for this dancing, which is abruptly right and good, and feels honest, which is the best part. In 1987, Olympia Dukakis asked, Why do menchase women? and she wanted the truth. The answer was always fear of death. But when I dance for you I am not afraid, and you tell me I’m the hottestthing on Earth, honestly, but I know it’s not true. I read aluminum heated to 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit by x-ray laser is the hottest piece of matter on Earth. I’m good with that. Matter is decaying anyway. Back in 1980, Woody Allen talked waste. He said, Matter is decaying, the universeis decaying. Soon there will be nothingleft. Back then I wasn’t even born, but as soon as I was, I set right to decaying. Only death can be beauty. I remember grandma cradling a tiny crucifix in her cupped hands repeating softly ain’t he just beautiful? But that’s not even what I mean. I mean at end time, there will be me and you [End Page 18] and these small, beautiful birds scuttling across patches of jungle floor picked clean for the dance and a solitary twig you left at the perimeter so I can sit when I’m tired. [End Page 19]
Melinda Wilson is the author of Amplexus (2010), a chapbook. She is a founding editor and managing editor of Coldfront Magazine, and her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Diner, Agriculture Reader, Rattapallax, The Cincinnati Review, the Wisconsin Review, Burn side Review, and Verse Daily, among other journals. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Florida State University and holds degrees in English and creative writing from the University of New Hampshire and The New School. She splits her time between Tallahassee, Florida, and Manhattan.