November 10, 2014

Holly Welker

DIP

Once I had a lover who annoyed me by
not liking me as much as I liked him, though
I admit I didn’t like him as much as I
liked certain other guys. He was tall and
aloof and laughed too hard at his own jokes,
which were never that funny anyway. He
was also the best dipper I’ve ever known,
sure of the strength of his own body and
appropriately daring with mine. You know
how at the end of a dance sometimes the guy
will spin the woman into his arms, then drop
her backwards as a final flourish, leaving her
suspended in mid-air till the music stops?
I love dancing but I also love that bedizened
sashay of closure at least as much as every
graceful movement that precedes it; I love
giving my hands to my partner of the moment,
kicking up one leg and surrendering to gravity,
falling quickly toward the earth because I’ve entrusted
my weight to someone I don’t quite trust,
someone who could drop me on my head
but never does. Once at an after-hours party at
the Dipping Guy’s house this other guy brought
a baseball glove he’d had since he was seven
and loved more than anything in the world.
Of course he lost it. Dipping Guy felt
responsible and made us all look for the glove,
offering an unspecified but highly desirable
reward, so someone traipsed to the guy’s car
and someone else checked behind the sofa.
No one found the glove. We all felt bad,
or would have, if we’d known or liked this guy
dumb enough to haul his beloved glove
along for a night of heavy drinking. When the beer
ran out and the night was nearly gone too,
Dipping Guy sent his guests home but wanting
to be a gentleman he walked onto the lawn to
bid us farewell and what should I find revealed
by the humid half light of a hungover
midsummer’s dawn but the poor guy’s
glove lying where any fool could see or trip
over it, right on the path to the house. “Look
what I found,” I said, and held up the glove
like it could actually catch something. I
gave it to the guy, who said, gratefully, wisely,
that he’d leave it home next time. “Can I have
a dip as my reward?” I asked Dipping Guy.
He stared at me a moment, then charged
toward me with fierce resolve. “I’ll dip you
to the seventh circle of hell,” he said, which
sounded threatening, not fun, but then it
was happening: my hands were grasped and
my left knee bent while my right knee straightened
and kicked up, up and my hips dropped to just
above the earth while my hair and my skirt trailed on
the sidewalk and I watched the sky above me blanch
with the inevitable light of morning. And then
he pulled gently on my hands and up I sprang,
my face flushed with blood and gravity,
the rest of me singing and ready to go home.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
Tribute to Love Poems

__________

Holly Welker: “I grew up in southern Arizona, the descendant of dour Mormon pioneers I always praised for having the sense to get the hell out of Utah soon after they arrived there, which made things a little awkward when I ended up living in Salt Lake City. I began writing as an eleven-year-old because I was promised an audience of angels if I shared my deepest thoughts in a journal. Eventually I gave up writing for angels; it’s plain old human beings I want to connect with now.”