Latin class
The vice principle’s suggestion
I went.
Latin? I knew some French - Ballet is French.
Never said the words “pas-de-deux”
Outside the studio tho, not till then.

Right then all I wanted to do was dance circles around Mr. Hayes
And if I got close enough, take his pulse (if he had one).

He taught from the dais, behind a lectern.
Tall, thin -El Greco paintings thin.
Pale, cadaver pale with an alabaster blue tinge.
Spanish nobility- Christian clergy.
Black suit - black tie - blazing white shirt-
Silver'd lines on his trousers,
Dead centre – ironed in.

I think he used Vaseline in his hair.
It was plastered down, sculpted,
The way mine was for classical performances.

I loved his voice - each word a dirge note-
Solemn and calibrated, like his eyes.
I danced the stories in both-
I studied that way: with body memory more than mind.

His hands were beautiful,
Strong, precise and near transparent fingers-
Slow motion articulation
That made turning a page an art form.
They reminded me of Albrecht Durer’s praying hands -
They were perfect, DaVinci would have loved to sketch them.

“Latin is alive” he said.
“Are u?” I thought.
“So dance with me, Mr. Hayes, just a short pas-de-deux.”

He looked away-
I was there already.

© Willow-Marie Power