November 2, 2023

Circle Dance

According to Jacob Burkhardt, its “intricate, serpentine
Weaving” can still be found in Hellas, if only
At village weddings, where those traditional steps

Are meant to recall the myth of the labyrinth
Unraveled by a ball of thread. For Burkhardt,
The dance of Theseus and Ariadne.

For us, Sarándos and Christina—gripping
The ends of a handkerchief that stretches between them,
That white mantíli that twists and untwists as they take

Their joyous turns at leading the circle dance.
And she, my father’s niece from the village, nineteen
Years old and desperate to stay in the States.

And he, the handsome suitor who somehow turns up
Just in time before her Visa runs out.
And there they go, so light on their newlywed feet—

And me, a child still mesmerized by the maze
Of weaving steps, and the mysteries of marriage,
And a white mantíli that twists and untwists as they twirl!

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