May 19, 2022

My Mother Remembers Me When I Put a Record On

by Joseph Mills

For an elementary school dance contest,
my big sister taught me disco moves
from films I wasn’t old enough to see.
Dance to me seemed mostly about attitude,
and I had as much then as I would ever have.
We choreographed a routine, but it was only
a minute, so my partner and I kept repeating it.

My partner? Who had they been? How can I
have forgotten them when I remember I wore
a brown velour shirt with pearl snap buttons
and decades later, I can recall some of the moves
— the bump, the bowtie – and the awkwardness
of holding hands with someone who wasn’t family.

Most likely they have forgotten me as well
even as they might still hear the rasp made
by my corduroy pants. We’ll always have Paris?
That’s the myth of memory. Names and faces
disappear faster than we’re willing to admit,
but bodies, bodies remember almost until the end
how they moved and how the moving felt.