a theory of movement

We had just stepped off the El onto the underground moving walkway

I was headed to my plane but I didn’t know the watchtower was on fire 

you were showing me your Diana and Michael, how they ease on down 

arms loose and brown and skipping joyous akimbo

those silver shoes that lavender dress 

they are headed uphill and they are still dancing and they love each other


So much. It’s the skipping that kept me, stuck there and then

Delicate and beautiful and girly you danced down the walkway on the half beat. Took a rolling step back onto the ball of your other foot

You danced down the walkway took a kick ball change and repeated three times 

Skipping is a theory of movement and that is where I stayed

I got stuck in the continental opposition between shoulder and hip

I had questions for your hands.


Later I wrote you a letter it was too much you were too angry

You think you love women but you don’t like girls

I like girls; I love them.

Girlhood is a genre, I said to the famous poet-philosopher who is not you when he told me that “torture” and “warned you” don’t rhyme. 

We don’t have to rhyme. 


Back then the rubber ground moved in ellipses and didn’t go anywhere. I took a different plane

I said to your back: I see you

the detail is your genre,

the small glimmer of hope,

the silver shoe.

You were gone. It all fell apart.

Skipping is theory; it barely touches down.

I am still solving the problem of movement.

Anonymous, 2016 from the online poetry archive. In tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks, Gay Chaps at the Bar

Kyla Tompkins