Only after the herd thunders past, then the chewing snapping locust swarm, then the boulder storm, only after all of these have carried themselves off into the collapsing distance does the gesture peek out from its hushed cave.
The ribbon unfurls from my wrist. A glass staircase bears the weight of fear. A feral pup in its winter wool climbs to the cliff edge and readies its throat.
The wing, first opening, closes.
This dance is free of the burden of purpose. It is not to slim a waistline, beef up earning potential, make headway on a transcript, build community. This dance exists because it does. For that reason alone, it is here. Like an obsidian shard. A switchgrass blade. It has no need to explain. It came without invitation or even a name.
An icicle flashes on the willow limb. It is over, gone, before it has begun (almost). A bone clacks inside the skin of a boy. It is all of itself, entirely. It answers only the questions it decides to hear.
The very presence of this dance would seem nothing short of a miracle if anyone were in charge of miracles. Just think of the staggering odds against it — against any of what’s here, any of us — inhabiting the blink that is the time and place we believe holds everything and really holds only the half-beat between measures.
This dance spins out from the hull of my body. The hard pod surrenders and splits its seam wide. So sudden. On a surge of air it rises like milkweed fluff tearing free. One current then another carry seed and gesture off to where they will become (or not) something that the tethered stem will never witness. This dance escapes the confines of movement in shaped by flesh. It rides a momentum that began before I was zygote. It churns on well beyond the ends of me.
Watch the sky. Watch the soft naked place when you turn your arm up. You might catch its white tail whipping past as it disappears into a break in the clouds, into the pores of you. Into the the melting river that swallows us.