Tango — torneo cinco
My mother finds me in the kitchen
with ice and bandages, foot propped
like a broken shoe.
My bruise looks like Argentina,
a forest of color.
We’re learning the tango, I say,
thinking of the trees outside
the dance studio. Oaks along the river.
My mother is thinking, how terrible
the leaves die each winter.
Sometimes love necessitates disaster.
She didn’t see his face when we came together.
How I dared him to fall as I stepped around him.
How he dared me to lead, fingers on my body
tight as a locked door. I took five steps,
unaware of the vertigo. The difficulty of toes
and muscle aligning. It’s easier to walk alone
but not as beautiful, I thought, then lost
my way. The forest is a trickster.
Doesn’t it hurt? she wonders, fingering my instep.
I bandage the pain and pull away.
I’m remembering the trees, how the leaves
turned scarlet at just the right moment.
His palm, perilously sweet
against my wound.
© 2012 Christine Klocek-Lim