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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets

Townsend, Alison
And still the music,   pp. 59-60

Page 59

And Still the Music 
     in memory offosie Avery, 1953-2003 
 One month after your death, 
 and I'm doing my every-other-day-when-I-don't-run workout 
 at Curves for Women-Stoughton, Wisconsin's 
 equivalent of a gym-where I've already 
 won a "Curves buck" for guessing tonight's 
 trivia question, and the big news 
 is that the local Wal-mart won the best 
 "hometown store" award, and the ladies- 
 as they call us here-are sweating and panting 
 their way through the circle of machines 
 when "Great Balls of Fire" comes on 
 and damn, if you aren't right there before me, 
 the slit between worlds opening and closing 
 like an elevator door as I hustle 
 from the pec-deck to the recovery pad, 
 and for just a second, for a breathless, 
 high-stepping, hip-swaying, triple beat 
 second, I see you, dressed in that vintage 
 purple lace you wore to a dance in college 
 almost thirty years ago, waving a rhinestone 
 cigarette holder, your arms open, your mouth 
 red and alive, startling me so I almost stop, 
 until I see that if I hesitate, you fade 
 and that to keep you here I have 
 to keep moving because you never 
 sat any dance out; and so I do, 
 powering my way through the leg press, 
 the oblique twist and the knee squat, 
 until my muscles burn, moving my arms 
 in and out, up and down, running non-stop 
 on the pads, singing under my breath 
 with the music, which somehow becomes 
 "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" and then "Great Balls of Fire" 
 again, and every good dance song that dumb college band 
called Widespread Depression played, the sweat 

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