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TITLE: The Church Dance
By Betsy Markman
08/18/06
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I don't really know what genre this belongs in. It feels more like free form poetry to me than anything else.
I still consider this very much a work in progress.
We can dance, you and I, but only for a little while.

Itís too hard being close to another person. You brush up against me, you see. If you do that too often, my smile might rub off.

Anyway, if weíre going to dance, then I have to lead. When others lead, I get hurt.

I only know one kind of dance. Itís called a Promenade. I walk out on the floor, I smile, I curtsy, I briefly hook arms with you, and then youíre supposed to pass me off to someone else. Only this is my promenade, so I donít let you decide how long we linger together. I remove your arm from mine, and if I do it skillfully youíll think it was your idea.

Smile, greet, laugh, twirl, do it all over again.

I tire very quickly when I dance. Leading is hard work, but I must do it or I might end up trapped in the dizzying whirl of your dance. Thatís scary. My faÁade has clumsy feet, and my mask obscures my vision so itís hard to see the little footprint patterns on the rug that tell me what you expect of me.

Besides, I donít know where your steps may take me.

Smile, greet, laugh, twirl, do it all over again.

I canít breathe well around so many others. My soul has asthma.

Often I canít bring myself to approach the dance floor at all. Just the thought of it exhausts me.

Iím running out of strength. If you were to ask me why, I couldnít tell you. I cannot point to anything about this dance which should have sapped me. But I am panting now, gasping for air.

I see the way you look at me. I have become a curiosity to you, an pitiable oddity, a one-woman band providing her own accompaniment, keeping her music to herself and never dancing to anyone elseís.

Smile, greet, laugh, twirl, do it all over again.

You waltz in your circles. I dance alone on a conveyer belt.

We wave at each other as I go by.

Why do I come here? Because this is the place where we talk about Him, the only one who has ever really held me. But I donít want to dance with Him. Oh no. I want His arms to wrap around me and hold me tight to His chest until I stop whirling.

When I let Him hold me long enough, eventually I can even stop spinning on the inside.

Perhaps here, in His embrace, I can learn to waltz in circles with you.

I would like that.
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