Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.


Grand jeté sweep
to the pole, she moves
like a Balanchine girl. I imagine her
with me at the Butler Street Y,
where I once rehearsed despite heat
on sticky basketball floors. Cheap
rubber shoes marked legs and hands
as we jazz rolled on the boards. We ran
piece after piece until tall boys,
leaning and leering, balls to palms,
displaced us with gym echo shouts
not unlike calls from these men
who watch her breasts here, not
her breath or technique. I choreograph
my move, approach, hang my bill,
back away—
She grabs my arm, thrusts her face
in the crotch of my old mama shorts.
Puffs of air spread patches of damp,
harden nipples. I pay
for a lapdance, hope to lose
the chill of this place, convention-room
cold, daycare drop-off cold.
She shoves me back, bites
sit up and sit still. Her eyes read
the distance from my waist to my neck,
and I become the pole.
She handstands, mid-air splits,
wraps knees ’round my neck,
squeezes hard. With a flip,
wiggle, drop, she faces me
in a straddle embrace.
I think of her practicing this.
She gauges, considers liability,
uses a friend as a prop.
Later, down the bar, she measures
another’s torso, and I wonder
why she would
not dance with me.

photoJennifer Dracos-Tice is a high school teacher and writer who lives in Atlanta with her wife and kids. She has published poetry in Something’s Brewing, an anthology from Kind of a Hurricane Press. She is also the recipient of the 2012 Poetry Prize from the Atlanta Writers Club. Jen can be reached at


Categories: Poetry

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2 replies

  1. Wow, Jen. I can imagine the space and the 2 of you – it is a dance.

  2. Cool. Makes me think of the Beats in the early 50’s, except there were no pole dancers then, only black girls in a Denver hood.

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