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  • Slow Dance
  • Matthew Dickman

More than putting another man on the moon, more than a New Year's resolution of yogurt and yoga, we need the opportunity to dance with really exquisite strangers. A slow dance between the couch and dining room table, at the end of the party, while the person we love has gone to bring the car around because it's begun to rain and would break their heart if any part of us got wet. A slow dance to bring the evening home, to knock it out of the park. Two people rocking back and forth like a buoy. Nothing extravagant. A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey. It's a little like cheating. Your head resting on his shoulder, your breath moving up his neck. Your hands along her spine. Her hips unfolding like a cotton napkin and you begin to think about how all the stars in the sky are dead. The my body is talking to your body slow dance. The Unchained Melody, Stairway to Heaven, power-chord slow dance. All my life I've made mistakes. Small and cruel. I made my plans. I never arrived. I fed my face. I drank my beer. The slow dance doesn't care. It's all kindness, like children before they turn three. Like being held in the arms of my brother. The slow dance of siblings. Two men in the middle of the room. When I dance with him, one of my great loves, he is absolutely human, and when he turns to dip me or I step on his foot because we are both leading, I know that one of us will die first and the other will suffer. The slow dance of what's to come and the slow dance of insomnia pouring across the floor like bath water. When the woman I'm sleeping with stands naked in the bathroom, [End Page 138] brushing her teeth, the slow dance of ritual is being spit into the sink. There is no one to save us because there is no need to be saved. I've hurt you. I've loved you. I've mowed the front yard. When the stranger wearing a sheer white dress covered in a million beads comes toward me like an oversexed chandelier suddenly come to life, I take her hand in mine. I spin her out and bring her in. This is the almond grove in the dark slow dance. It is what we should be doing right now. Scrapping for joy. The haiku and honey. The orange and orangutang slow dance.