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
“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
Photo credit: Fariha Sultana