In this land of rhumba and mambo -
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Tango in Havana
by Angie Minkin
In this land of rhumba and mambo,
we stumble up crumbling stairs
to meet Rodrigo, sinuous, slim,
a chiseled sneer. Claudia, twisted
black hair, slashes of red lipstick.
The tango maestros look
down at our matching tees, zip-
off khakis, thick-strapped sandals.
Rodrigo pulls me close, curls
me backwards. I am lost
in an embrace of sorrow and strength.
Claudia molds your thighs just so
with her knees. We bumble, poor marooned
penguins. Our teachers shake heads, push
us together. We flounder,
laugh, curse. Meld
torsos. Thinner, younger. Your knee thrusts
my leg, a precise diagonal.
I move to your breath. Your stare lifts
my chin. For eight long heartbeats,
flawless timing. Once
we too were beautiful.
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