Tomás Q. Morin

Dance Couple

“As the explosive spins away from his chest
it’s out with the tired step-ball-change…”

In my dumb youth
I would have made the plastique male,
and French, a devotee of fashion,
would have recklessly decked it in a bubble dress
because bombs are round in cartoons. Later,
after making love, I would have returned
and unrolled fishnets—white, always white
—up its murderous thighs to simulate the crisp twine
the violence depends upon. Baghdad
would’ve become a chic disco grinding
the night into submission for the sublime
parade of Halstons and Qianas.

Beauty is for suckers,
I overheard a man mumble in the park,
his handsome bowtie crooked, while the pug
tethered to his hand lifted one noble leg
in salute to the awful carnation.
I am done with beauty, I thought,
with perfuming the wounds of the world
and so I retreat to the ugly heart,
that unpopulated, suspended
acre of island, where, at the right time of year
one can walk unmolested the miles
and miles of beach and hear nothing.
Once in a great while, the foul tide
will drag a frond, brown and tattered,
into the current. From far below
its saw-shaped outline will appear like a feather
from some giant bird to the sea spiders,
translucent, faithfully
following their own cancerous rhythm
into the bloody dark of the heart
where they will spin and spin
the death of our couple, given time.

first published in Oranges & Sardines


Tomás Q. Morín is the author of A Larger Country, winner of the APR/Honickman Prize. With Mari L’Esperance, he is co-editor of the anthology Coming Close: 40 Essays on Philip Levine. His poems have appeared in Slate, Threepenny Review, Boulevard, New England Review, and Narrative.
Charlie Clark