The Pinery Provincial Park Dance Company

by DM O'Connor

Leaping from roof to deck rail was easy. The sneak
home more complicated, especially in frost. At first

I’d lug a cassette player until batteries became
a drag and costly so I decided to dance to the woods.

In winter slushy thuds kept the tap in the toe.
Autumn was a poly-hued dead leaf soft shoe shuffle.

Hear that sandpaper rub. Spring all vault to branch creak
heels rarely hitting earth. Nut-cheeked summer squirrel

beady eyed with envy, poison ivy rash below tan line.
Proof I’d been birthday-suiting up to no good again.

I can’t name the birds that performed. Nor remember
the trunks hugged. Loved each bud and left them.

Moves mastered not from basement-TVs nor recorded
live-studio-audience, each snake groove top secret.

We grew out of seasons, build a shack, abducted a generator,
CDs, kegs, schnapps, pot, brawling, sex. Rock, other people.

We slammed the front door at all hours came and went at pleasure
too self-drunk to care who saw and who swung to what promise




DM O'Connor is a contributing reviewer for Rhino Poetry and fiction editor at Bending Genres. He is the recipient of the 2021 Cuirt International Award for Fiction, Tom Gallon Short Story Award, and is the current writer-in-residence at the Kerouac House Project, Orlando. He is grateful for the support of the Arts Council of Ireland and Words Ireland.