You wear your death like dance slippers,
taking them out of their coffin-box
at the barre, while you arabesque and plié,
allegro lightly round the room, touch the mirror,
turn, feel your feet bleed into the blocks,
assemble on your own edge, bitter
and full of remorse. The dance becomes a quick-step,
a flamenco, a stream of soft tap, a fox-trot.
The slippers lead. But you are no black swan.
Someone needs to stop you, pull you back, help,
When it comes; thick and soft
as the pelt of an animal,
I am grounded, brought down
to calm in the smell of damp earth.
We wait like the wet starlings,
under tree cover, their song-work
undone in the shallow hiss
of leaves and rain. I am paused,
smelling the green of the grass,
the hung heads of daffodils,
watching the plough furrows
fill with water. A dog barks
somewhere, on one of the farms,
the spaniel lifts his wet head, waits
as I wait. We are communed,
marooned, standing peacefully,
watching the water make mud
out of soil, movement out of stillness.