Discarded Climaxes

for my first husband

I come from a long line of lapsed dancers.
Imprisoned by cricked backs, blown knees,
erratic hearts and wasting-away illnesses,
we sit, tapping our toes.
Jukeboxes longing to be plugged in.

Men used to watch when I danced,
eyes measuring my breasts, placing bets
along the metronome of my hips
that they would be the one to claim me.

I spread my legs only for you, my dear,
a bear who stepped on my feet, pushed
when he should've pulled, was always
a half-beat off, who wandered away to a corner
to talk law when my fervor ran highest.

You once liked the heat of my body
dancing you to your own climax later,
but our dance wound down from the Stones
to Lombardo as your attention floundered,
leaving me prey to wolves who gladly
feasted on the meal you bypassed so easily.

I sometimes still think of you, ticking off
those fine points of law, your fingertips
waltzing away vows as lasting as dreams
I once read in Braille from the hopeful air.

Pris Campbell

Lummox Journal 2008

Art: Lady by Burne-Jones

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