Dancing Near a Body of Water
You are the heart and the lungs of this ocean
by which I wave my earthly body, my simple arms
curling like commas into the foam. Yes,
you are the heart and the lungs of this ocean
because we agree to let it be this way tonight,
your smile the way home, our home nowhere near.
In Panajel, I would dance by the drums and scream
in Spanish about love and miracles.
In Qingdao, I would pray by the Yellow Sea for our
good return and luck and health for our parents.
In Lima, I would dance above the crashing waves
and think about valor and family.
In Hue, at night on the coast, there are no bullets
tonight. I would dance to save our lives.
Yes, I would dance for you until there was no
more rhythm to the world, until the all the drums
lost their skins and the birds forgot how to fly.
I would dance for you here in this living room
with our cats nodding in approval, or in that
room in Cusco where we slept together under
the alpaca blanket. That night, I dreamed I was
the ocean. Yes, I was the body of water,
you were the heart and the lungs.
Dancing Near a Body of Water is from This Many Miles from Desire (WordTech Editions, 2007).