Charlotte Hussey

Poet , Creativity Coach, & Dancer

Charlotte Hussey, a Canadian poet from Montreal, recently launched her latest book of poetry, Glossing The Spoils , and is excited to share it with the world. 

Rue St. Famille

DANSE HAITIENNE

For Michèle Turenne

1

We take the danse studio at a trot

led by Michèle, who claps the beat

to Karolina Karo moin dansé kongo,

as fingers rub across a drum;

callused palms strike the whining skin.

 

 Changez direction. Our circling

wheels past a wall of smudged mirrors:

breasts, stretched backs and thighs

bound in sheer spandex, and around

the hips knee-length wrappers,

spotted, flowered, figured with birds in flight.

 

Limping step, sliding step.

 Pim-pim pushing hips to the beat

like mating birds dragging their wings in dust,

we glide, rippling shoulder blades

and spines, as drums chafe and fret,

sticks strike casings, bells clang—

 

Debonair as Dionysus, Baron Samedi

appears,

 

flirting with a small black boy

who whirls dizzily, throws his arms suddenly

wide, wide into air, "sauté,"

 

and from my sweaty trance I see,

across the street, in the icy window

of Tavern Femmes Nues,

a Halloween scarecrow that wears

discolored tights stuffed with straw,

recalling the bruised neck of a swan,

a field of reeds.

2

Hurrying across the field, naked,

or was I wrapped in a towel or a blanket

to provoke his striking me; fabric slipping away

from my breasts, hips, thighs?

3

"Smile, enjoy the music," says Michèle,

as I land hard on my weak leg, right foot.

The left one, on point, drags.

 

Doffing his fedora, Baron Samedi

grins over his shoulder at the boy,

but not at me. The boy prances.

I try to follow their long-legged strides.

Jab my hips to the rapid beat,

Off-tempo arms float overhead.

 

Haitians, Anglos, Québécoise,

two-by-two the women and children advance,

hands clapping, feet stomping,

 Karolina Karo moin dansé kongo

juskò moin fèm mal ou o.

I'll dance until my bones ache,

I'll dance until my bones ache,

dansé kongo, layé kongo.