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Daniel A. Harris

At Dancing School: The Youngsters

A curtsey and a bow initiate
a brief exchange, as in the old quadrilles;
each partner’s gloved in dyed white kid. Who’d want
to gawk at nails bit to the quick, hangnails
or nails caked with dirt if hands become paws
groping flesh—if this skirmish, not scheduled
by teachers of dance, should court spectacle,
if courtesies of speech can’t muffle howls
of lust? Not their proper parents, surely.