The Dance by Aidan Rooney

The Dance
Petites Paysannes se baignant à la mer vers le soir by Edgar Degas

The decades, give or take, to set things right,
repopulate a strand that flopped with fish
the sucked-back sea cast up before the quake
with girls naked for no one but themselves
in surf that’s up this evening even if
the sun gives the impression it’s gone down
in the diesel-spewing port of Jacmel,
and will do all it can to cool the fire-
storms of revolutions raged so long
what else can three girls do but want someone
to paint them crudely in in a hurry,
lashings of roasted cocoa, coffee, sugar,
rinsed of coal and salt and scorched-earth lime
at close of day, dancing into the dark.



Aidan Rooney is a native of Monaghan, Ireland, resident in the U.S. since 1987. He lives in Hingham, Massachusetts and teaches at Thayer Academy.  He was awarded the Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Poet in 1997, and his collections, Day Release (2000) and Tightrope (2007) are published by The Gallery Press in Ireland. More recently (2013), he was awarded the Daniel Varoujan Award from the New England Poetry Club. Widely published in Europe and North America, his work has appeared in various anthologies including Staying Alive (Bloodaxe) and 180 More (Random House).