How sweet the taste
of sweat as I roll
my hips in the hoop.

My sickness circles around.

So free and strong,
swirling eyes and arms
escape in ancient action:
a dance my people once

performed around the fire;
the wood hummed, pummeled
by stomping bare, brown feet.

My esteem recedes and whimpers.

On my back, the mown grass
licking one leg, the other arched
and raised—I spin the hoop
on shimmering, painted toenails.

My people roar for beer
in cheap cups, ignoring
my pleading ode to the goddess.

My food swings around my fingers

and out my mouth; soothe
me, truth—broken and lost
until the hoop returns. My brown shins
kick the habit and hoop to my hand.

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