All Three and None

All Three and None

- Jasmine Giuliani

Learning to dance

for the second time, full of cooked plantain,

feet pivoting to the off-beat of creaking laughter,

hips moving faster


“You’re not doing it right!”

He smiles like a fight and tries to teach me to dance.

Sometimes I forget,

that the blood of this smiling, vaguely familiar man,


inside of me.

I stand superfluously

as Creole whirls and women related to me walk with speed to

dance, feed, repeat


Instincts I don’t have,

so I stand on the parameters as

they cook and grind spice

while I keep standing

watch the rice.

His bad foot aches and we haven’t seen each other in awhile

so stakes are high as he reclines and directs me

in dialect,

“feel the music.”

He doesn’t usually speak much but scotch is loosening his mother tongue

music is playing, the pattern

for a bond is being spun.

It’s the first time he wants to teach me something and I can’t help but to incline toward the

little girl inside,

as if to say


there’s still time,

the mind can rewind and learn memories


I smile politely as if they are going to indite me into the scripture in their minds but really

I am just a visitor here.

I look into his eyes

a stranger and my father.


I want to learn to dance

for the second time

but I’m an adult now and I’m afraid

that we’re incapable of

learning twice.

Photo credit: Fariha Sultana

What Makes An Aussie?

What Makes An Aussie?