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Dancing with Astaire
Jan Duncan-O'Neal

She sits watching the TV
when a Fred Astaire film
comes on. He steps onto
the scene. That stroll, fast turn,
pause. Tip of his hat. Wink. Music
swells. She jumps up. Shoves back
the coffee table. Kicks off her shoes.
Prances down the room to the melody.
Raises her left arm to an imaginary shoulder.
Curls her right arm around the waist of the man
In tux and tails. She backs six steps on her tiptoes.
Twirls as he lifts Ginger up, her fluffy skirt encircling
them in a crescendo of song. She knows he doesn’t
need her or any other woman. He is master
of scaling walls, skittering across ceilings,
dancing with his own perfect shadow.

This poem first appeared in Orange Room Review (October 2012).
Used here with the author’s permission.



A long-time children’s librarian, Jan Duncan-O’Neal told stories to children and did workshops nationally until her retirement ten years ago. Soon after, she turned from writing educational resource books to creating poems. Much of her poetry is narrative, influenced by her storytelling background. “Poetry challenges me more than anything else I’ve ever done,” says Jan. “To have some of my work published has been a high point in my life.” The feature poem in her chapbook, “Lost Voices,” was a Pushcart Nominee.  Currently an editor for I-70 Review, Jan lives with husband, Bill Duncan-O’Neal (who proudly shares this double name), in Overland Park, Kansas.

Post New Comment:
barbara eknoian:
Great! I imagined dancing with Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman in a poem. I love dance poems.
Posted 09/27/2013 01:48 PM
Alarie Tennille:
I wonder how many millions of women have imagined themselves swirling the dance floor with Astaire. Jan catches the moment beautifully.
Posted 09/27/2013 11:58 AM
Wonderful. Such an interesting angle from which to attack difficult questions about being alone.
Posted 09/27/2013 08:16 AM

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