May 1, 2019 | 2019 Spring - Firsts, Articles, Poetry

By Jan Steckel

My grandparents’ Brazilian cook
danced with a band at night.
Evenings, she’d samba
around the mahogany table,
ladling vichyssoise into
gilded bowls. On each bowl
she’d float a carved radish rose.

She called her gnarled feet
“dancer’s hooves,” claimed
to be ashamed of them.
Still, she painted her toenails
the color of dried blood,
let them peek through
peep-toed shoes.

If I had told her she was
my first female crush, she’d have
laughed like samba bells.
She’d have shaken, whistled, rattled,
boomed like her boyfriend’s band.

This poem first appeared in Vitality, Issue 1, February 2015

Appears in my new book Like Flesh Covers Bone (Zeitgeist Press, December 2018)

Jan Steckel won a Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction for her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011). Her latest book is Like Flesh Covers Bone (Zeitgeist Press, 2018).

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