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Shy Boy

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I wait for my shadow to forget me,
to take that one phantom step that I keep
from taking. I wait for the simple flash
of a dancer's spat upon this one moon
of stage-light, the mind's lonely oval
illuminated on the surface of some
windless pond or slew. And the old soft-shoe
practices to get it right, husha-husha-hush
in its constant audition of sawdust.
Even this choreography of useless
wishing is not enough to keep tonight
from becoming nothing more than some floor's
forgotten routine where faded, numbered
dance-steps silently waltz themselves away.
The orchestra's now ready to Fauré
into the evening's last song while I try
to convince myself to cross this room
for the first time all night and rinse
what's left in some débutante's silver
sequined waterfall, hope keeling hopelessly
ever closer to the edge. Across the floor
other couples sashay on. A tin flask empties
itself from asking, the shadow's last chance
now wasted in some chandelier's dim lust.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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Shy Boy

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