Terry Trowbridge‘s poem: Dancers in Savoy Ballroom

Poet’s Note: This poem is inspired by a photograph by Aaron Siskind, published in Phaidon The Photo Book, p. 423.

They’re dancing! She’s laughing!

She’s laughing and her face is buried behind his overextended arm;

just slightly overextended his hand past her hand up-reaching-too.

His leg is overextended, knee higher than hip, her hip and his;

they’re both hep and kicking it, they’re kicking up floor shine

in the photographic silence that makes a moment click.

His eyes are wider than wide –

his eyes are as wide as his mouth –

his face faces the sky, her face faces her guy –

his mouth shapes the loudest of sounds

and her laugh glows with their acoustic contours.

The Savoy Ballroom is invisible in the dark,

the varnished floor halos the duo below then vanishes

along with the location which will forever be embodied –

this place is these two people forever,

Harlem history written by her laugh.

Terry Trowbridge’s poems have appeared in The New QuarterlyCarouselsubTerrainpaperplatesThe Dalhousie ReviewuntetheredQuail BellThe Nashwaak ReviewOrbisSnakeskin PoetryLiterary Yard, Gray SparrowCV2Brittle StarBombfireAmerican Mathematical MonthlyAoHaMCanadian Woman Studies, The MathematicalIntelligencer, The Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, The Journal of HumanisticMathematicsThe Beatnik CowboyBorderlessLiterary Veganism, and more. His lit crit has appeared in ArielBritish Columbia ReviewHamilton Arts & LettersEpistemeStudiesinSocialJusticeRampike, and The/t3mz/Review. Terry is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for his first writing grant, and their support of so many other writers during the polycrisis.

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