Poem: Doubt


I would not advise taking the class. You really have no background in philosophy,

and as he said it, his eyes trembled, as if they might ooze from the sockets, run down his chest, and into his hands, which also trembled.

My mind shook a fist, while my hands stayed calm and ladylike. In that year of our Lord, 1991, I still worried about being calm and ladylike for old learned men with trembling eyes. I was an unsure dancer then, the consent-rebellion waltz too intimidating. A cautious novice, I embraced the fundamentals: follow your partner, be gracious, know the boundaries.

There would be more classes, other partners, a few private slow drags with Nietzsche and Kant. There would be plenty of time to forget the old man’s speckled paws, the gulf of space between our knees, the drop of my confused face beneath the light. That Portrait of a Young Dancer Saved from Her Arrogance is a packed-up masterpiece now, covered in brown sheet, buried palimpsest.


Copyright © 2019 Stacy Torian.

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