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Minnemingo Review

Ghost Dance                                                                  Taylor Driggers

At sundown we watched the aborigines
don white masks and trample the ground,
furiously flailing and kicking
and beating the dust.
I remember you said
it was a dance of ghosts,
that the look in their eyes was
a glazed blindness,
a wild, scrambling stare projecting
like an arm outstretched for
a handhold, but grasping
nothing—a naked, black-hole stare
that pronounced a sentence
to a gaping pit.

I looked and saw in your eyes
the same wild, searching,
clawing, feral frenzy,
though glossed over with the
cold shell of chanted mantras
half-understood. I have been
in your temple,
and I have seen your altar
in the bank-vault shimmer
and shiver of chilly, still opulence
staring blankly,
and I have wondered:
did the candles
burn the cross
they flanked in the guise
of guards? Did the incense
cloud the stench of blood
from your hands? Would you
charge a fiend’s fee
for the open door?
No, cast off this raiment;
do not deny you dance. Bare
your undulating form to
the dying light, the open air,
and let your wandering stare
grasp the thing you once trampled
in secret, splayed out
in the form of warm,
breathing, bleeding, bent
flesh and stretched, strained,
aching sinews. Let its pulse
be your own, let it sweep
and sway you through
your ghost-dance.