A Waltz in the Afternoon

A double flower we were
upon a single stem;
my red skirt wrapped our legs
together like a flame
that flared as it was fanned:
the music was our wind.
Snow fell outside the windows.
His lips deep in my hair
dissolved my knee bones; stilt,
the music was my lover
and loosed my limbs to him.
In innocence we swam.
It was my seventeenth winter.
I saw dances stretch ahead,
an endless scroll brushed lightly
a hundred waltzes waltzed.
The fiddlers smiled and tapped
their bows; somebody clapped.
Outside, the snow was falling.
His hand firm on my waist
bent and turned and lifted
me. My skirt embraced
our legs. And, in my joy,
I danced childhood away.
It was my seventeenth winter
No spider on his thread
delighted more in motion.
Sometimes when I’m in bed
I dream that I am swimming
in a calm, a sunny ocean —
it is that dance again.
We swayed the afternoon
away; outside, the snow-
flakes fell. And now I know,
a hundred waltzes after,
that I’ve not danced since then.