The Dancer under Wraps

by Don Paul

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Marigny Recording Studio, July 24, 2014, with Rick G. Nelson engineer


The Dancer under Wraps

Two pair of shoes
In her kitchen
Are made of wood,
Shoes with simple lasts and brilliant straps
Like rubies, diamonds or tiara,
Fittings for a ballerina,
The dancer under wraps.

Her blood father
Was a Toussaint-hearted aviator.
Who flew from Haiti to Germany
In the 1930s.
The father who adopted her
Was Haiti's Ambassador
To Mexico and Great Britain
Before he fled Papa Doc Duvalier's regime.

What a fountain is her laughter!
How it rumbles and quakes and peals.
What a marvel her compassion!
Almost she cries
With both laughter and compassion.
How quickly she can move,
Fast as a pulling guard
Or a Gauguin brushstroke,
Erect as a crane's steps
Flying across water.

A child so bold as to declare
At age three: "My mother
Made me this dress and I love it!"
A child taken places, hearing voices
Of Tontin Macoute raised with threats and guns
Outside darkened windows,
A child sheltered across continents
Without a choice in the matter.
Someone who came to ask
Why and how the Church is so rich.

If her skin was a lake,
If her voice was a mother's whispering or a flute
("Kwame'! Oh, Kwame'! …"), If her arms
Were the smoothest cocoa and bread-fruit,
If her eyes were themselves pools of dancing darkness,
She would still be
As the sunrise by your pillow.

First , July 30, 2012


released February 14, 2016
Don Paul, words, vocal, and Haitian shaker



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