issue 11: aug 2016, Poetry
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Dance by Luis Rosario

Everyone assumed I would dance
That the ringing of the timbales and the guiro scratching would be siren song enough to push me onto a crowded dance floor
But they called me white boy already
They told me I couldn’t do anything right
Too good, too smart, too many books
So I didn’t dance

But the songs lived in my blood
The bouncing merengue beat thundered in me
And I knew the words to every sultry salsa
I lived each dance in my heart and head
I moved alone at each party
I sat alone on the sidelines
My rhythm lost in being quiet and small

But then I saw her
Curves like a classic guitar and a smirk on her face
She was abandon and reckless movement
Ecstasy lived in her footfalls and the drums echoed in her smile
Suddenly I could taste tropical history
Suddenly my feet found the pulse of la isla
And I discovered el encanto on the dance floor

I danced
Sweat pouring, feet pounding, heart soaring
Touched by each ancestor who put foot to wooden dance floors
To cold cement in tight tenements
To packed dirt in el campo
I found my Puerto Rican soul, hiding under the glasses and books

I was still too smart
I still read too many books
But brother I could dance

Luis Rosario is a 31 year old Puerto Rican from Lowell, MA. You can find him on tumblr: here.

Illustration by Angie Anzai. Find her on instagram.

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