Box Step

I walked in as if
I knew I could  do it
I walked in
paid my money
put on my new shoes
and
allowed a stranger to
put his arms around me
I walked in as if I believed I could do it

Anyone can learn if
they try hard enough,
right?
Anyone can learn if
they practice hard enough,
right?

I walked in as if
being 53 years old
didn’t matter
as if
middle-age hadn’t stolen
some of my stamina and
much of my flexibility

I walked into that school of dance
and onto the dance floor as if
fox trot and waltz and
rumba and cha-cha
were new books I planned to read
rather than
dances I had never done

I walked in as if
it didn’t matter
that I had always
felt awkward and clumsy
just walking across a room
and utterly hopeless
when I tried to dance

I walked in
paid my money
put on my new shoes
as if new things were easy for me
as if I weren’t scared to death
that I would look like an old fool

And I kept coming back
scheduling more lessons
even when I knew
it was all a dream
even when the blisters outgrew
the extra-large band-aids
and the small bottle of advil was gone
in a couple of days
I kept coming back
scheduling more lessons
even when I began buying chiropractic
appointments in bulk
even when my reading glasses got in the way of applying my false eyelashes
even when it was so apparent that
this sort of thing wasn’t for me

I kept coming back
and trying again

At different times
I sprained my foot and broke my wrist
but I never missed a lesson
I just kept coming back
again and again
trying not to cry
and trying
over and over
not to quit

But sometimes
the complaining is so loud
in my head
and the tears are so hot
in my eyes
that I have to quit
give up
go home

Until
the next day
when
I walk back in
as if
the quitting
not the dancing
were the dream

Lynn Moreland  1/5/03