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Snow Dance

Honorable Mention 2014 Poetry Contest

The week her grandfather died, she recalled
dancing with him at her sister’s wedding,
the gardenia, his neatly parted white hair,
a tango he likened to snow falling in calm wind.

You were quick to learn, he told her, and she
remembers his hand against her shoulder
blade, the front and back ochos, the circles
clockwise and counter, side-steps, crosses,

and step-overs, the kisses he gave her,
the stranger who commended him on finding
such a young and supple partner, his smile
when he said, she is my grand daughter.

Standing her for reasons she refuses to talk about,
wanting to forget how much the world can hurt,
she thinks of him, catches snowflakes on her
sleeve, gardenias, some that join like couples

who dance together frequently, pines wet
with fresh snow. She walks across the field
alternating slow, quick, and slow steps,
holding her right palm up for a partner’s left.

Crossing her left over her right ankle, she pivots,
brushing one leg against the other, stops
to catch a snowflake on her tongue, steps
through a point, begins a circle into every

snowy afternoon she will need.


Richard Roe is the Council of Wisconsin Writers's former appointee to the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. A retired Legislative Analyst and editor from Middleton, Roe began writing poetry in his mid-30s and has kept at it ever since. A preacher's kid who's lived in Ohio and New Jersey, he has a background in history and economics.

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Phone: 608.733.6633


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Phone: 608.733.6633 x25