Private Lessons

     It is a rare pleasure for me,
     Mistrustful, doubting being that I am,
     To submit myself to the molding, formative will,
     The sculpting chisel of a benevolent, skillful woman.

I am not quite myself at these times.
Mostly I am:
My humor and sense of rhythm independent,
My beliefs, my views of life
But on the vast linoleum plane in the National City Civic Center,
I move differently,
Absorbed in a subtle transformation which progresses
In stealth,
Week by week, under her guidance.

There is a kind of intimacy in our connection,
A unity not so much of two lovers,
As that of mother and son,
Or poet and his muse.
She must be profoundly
Aware of me,
Familiar in a sense unmatched by any other
With my carriage and motions.
For nearly two years she has watched over me
As I've struggled with waltz and cha-cha,
Devoted hours to answering my questions of style and form.

And now, every Tuesday, I arrive early,
Struggling through the odious hell of I-5 traffic
To be refined,
To be molded into something a little more beautiful.
I often wait for the two of them,
Practicing pivots and reviewing figures
Until their blue Toyota backs into the space by the door.
We chat and I help them carry in their gear.
We begin soon after, Rey setting up and cuing,
She, serving as my partner.

We often end up laughing
When I goof something.
Sometimes she brings food for me.

When the group class begins
She must usually focus her attention elsewhere,
But I tend to think that her eye
Often falls upon me to view my progress.
It is very possible that I am,
For the time at least,
Her star pupil,
A bit of a teacher's pet.

George Chadderdon © 1998