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The Dance Let us give thanks to archaic Parisians
By Aaron Mitton https://www.amazon.com/Ep...

by Aaron Mitton

The Dance

Let us give thanks to archaic Parisians

who saved deep earth the mundane task

of digesting their bodies.

Let us learn from them

a cold, but effective catharsis.

We shall build our basements

of mortar and skulls, so that when we go down

to inspect the fuse-box

we taste the moldering breath of a million

stripped men, moon-white, grinning at our alien lanterns

as though years in the darkness made lunatics of them.

Let us feel confined

to our homes’ narrow halls

by investing in them

the remains of our ancestors.

Let us make repositories of our china cabinets

and put fingerbone relics on bric-a-brac shelves.

I know the allure of remaining soft hosts.

We’ve all invited the neighbors to dinner

and returned into them the Merlot they offered us at the door.

I know how in the drunkenness that follows,

the passive denial slips out through our slurs;

how we laugh, open-mouthed

so as not to expose any hint of our small bones.

how much time we have spent scouring

the traces of decay from our bathrooms and our flesh

is the time we’ve stood still resisting the song of the silenced,

only to find that standing still

is the dance.

I have seen gorgeous white birds, paper-thin

fold and unfold across luminous skies

and I have witnessed the shadows they cast

rushing like black cats from root to root,

valley to valley,

intangible, persistent, eternal.

That is why it is good to exhume the graves of your loved ones,

or ones you wanted to love.

Place their skulls on the table

and ask them questions. Ask them why

in this life, you should know the hunger of the shadow

that holds your heels while standing

and grinds against the rest of you

while you are lying down.

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