The Night Dancers
Praise the shadows that slither up candlelit walls
that slide out of our bodies, twist and shimmy,
turning red hair, a leafprint scarf, to gray,
silent partners of talkers at this table,
perhaps demonic selves. Now bouncing high
now lifting into shallow flight, they never,
unlike their owners, take in food or drink,
but cling, asking only to be remembered
when the flame gutters, when the dawn kills shadow.
While the judge and minister converse
over Merlot in phrases that disguise
bare meanings: I am the one, the only,
their slate doubles laugh, vaudeville satirists
and mimickers, knowing the dance will cast
singleness into one shape and one flat darkness.
Bring on the storms, the power outtages,
and fetch the lanterns, that we may see ourselves
risen, as they are, dissolved in watery forms,
color of muck.