We barely took any space,
maybe a foot square, you
placing my hands where they go
and knocking my feet with your toes—
who dances like this, anyway
(as comets careen into their own ice)?
Your favorite story about me: I’m
chained, at 3, to a tree. When you
return, my uncle—fed up with my roaming
in his oil—stilled me that way and
you removed the loose chains, carried me
inside to scrub my body like a rescued pelican
awash in petroleum. It was California
in the 60s—your brother, my sitter,
not much more than a child himself
(the moon bright enough to be visible from Mars).
The dancing seems easy, step-turn,
step-turn, and your smile surprises me.
I knew, before my grade school dance,
I caught on quickly. Nobody danced
with me that night at school. But earlier,
you and I, turning and rocking,
prepared me, made ready for that nobody.
We danced, hand-in-hand, me a prosthetic,
you counting steps with whatever music was on
(scattershot lights everywhere in a moment).
Joddy Murray’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in over 70 journals, including, most recently, The Broken Plate, DUCTS, Caliban Online, Existere, Lindenwood Review, Licking River, Meridian, McNeese Review, Minetta Review, Moon City Review, Moonshot Magazine, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Southampton Review, Stickman Review, and Texas Review. He currently teaches writing and rhetoric in Fort Worth, Texas.