“Seventy years have I lived,

seventy years man and boy,

and never have I danced

for joy.” Yeats

On Sundays he went to swing dance lessons on the bridge at Golden Gate Park

as an observer, never a participant; a stationary mime standing like a statue

barely tapping his toes, envious of the many miss-matched couples

with less than perfect bodies swinging away in simulated libidinal bonding,

transported with glazed eyes, flying like gulls in a downdraft, held aloft

by the riffs and strains of the Dorsey and Glenn Miller Bands.

An elderly gent in a white linen suit wearing boots and a cowboy hat merges

pelvis to pelvis with a bosomy blonde who sparkles like Venus from the star-studded

side of her delicate nose.

A ravishing long-legged beauty with amber hair flowing down to her derriere glides

artfully dangling over a crusty dwarfish old man with bulging eyeballs and a bulbous nose.

Partners change with each number, romping along whether short or tall, klutzy or nimble,

pot-bellied or scrawny; some move with grace and finesse in spite of a prominent rump,

twirling, dipping and jitterbugging, rat-tat-tatting, as if they were jack-hammering the bridge or jumping and jiving, sliding and zigzagging across the macadam imagining

it a sheen of pure ice.

Voluptuous bumblers careen, ferociously grinding and wiggling; strangers gyrate

cheek to cheek languorously drowsing in each other’s arms.

Some struggle to master the razz-a-ma-tazz trying a Lindy Hop with steps painted by

the numbers; their Charleston looks metronomically programmed as they shim-sham

up and down and around strutin’ their stuff as gleeful as a room full of pre-schoolers.

Returning home to inexorable solitude the man who couldn’t dance cranks up his stereo, strips naked and slowly begins to move, enraptured as he whirls away the rest of the day

in an incandescent aura of light in the privacy of his mirrored room.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St .Leonia, N.J. 07605