Friday, December 26, 2014


Once, when I was very young — likely 23 — I went to a Mormon dance at a municipal park in Provo, Utah, and there watched a girl dance with a sensuality I hadn’t seen before and have not seen since, not in the flamenco bars of Madrid or Cádiz or in the strip clubs of North Beach — not even, it occurs to me, at the senior proms I have chaperoned for my two sons, where the girls were as playful and beautiful as they will ever be but, I suspect, too burdened by the extravagance of their dresses and by their awareness of themselves as spectacles to release themselves to sensuality, which a poet must once have called, perhaps redundantly, the “perilous sublime."

Uncharacteristically, after suffering for a couple of hours at the sight of her dancing, which made me ache and possibly broke my heart in some kind of permanent fashion, I managed to ask her if she would go with me for an ice cream sundae. She agreed. I remember nothing about our date, however, except that at one point she commented on how I enunciated the word really. “You have a funny way of saying it,” she said. “I do?” I asked. “The way you say the e,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it that way."

I never saw her again.

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