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JC Reilly

My Sister Dances to David Bowie, and I Get Caught Up in It: A Mood


“Let’s Dance” slurs on the stereo, Bowie’s voice sexy if

straining, like he’s smoked too many Camels. You

sway along to funk and dance and rhythm, heart captured, say

your love for him tastes like the blues, like salt. You run

the tape back and play the song again, twirling in time. I’ll

slouch to the couch from the floor to leave your legs room to run

through your dance routine. He doesn’t sing to me with

any great gift—no shivers here—though it’s clear he spirits you


to his secret realm under the serious moonlight. You glow, and

cheeks pinken as you’re drawn deeper into the dance. If

I spoke, you might turn from sylph to sudden kid sister, you

might loosen from the hypnotic state that keeps you astir. I say

nothing. Don’t even hum. Rapture like a silver scarf can hide

nothing of your light. At the last note, you come back to yourself. We’ll

let the rest of side one play; flip to side two. Then—a shift. I sense you hide


now, withdraw. The dance was not for me to see, because

it belongs to your David, a moment like a pearl. But I’ll share my

truth, anyway, that somehow I saw you transformed by love,

like a thousand doors opened with black and white keys for

you. Love, that terrorist, takes everyone hostage, except you

don’t mind—no girl with her first love does. Would

David love you back? If you were grown, why not? He’d break

like a geode full of amethyst for you, he’d fall so hard. My

fancy catches me in its basket with a start—whose heart

preoccupies me now? Yours or David’s? Is mine too in-

clined toward romance, that golden pebble, no matter what two


people are involved? I think I want to dance now too, I say, if

that’s ok. You hesitate, but your “boyfriend” won’t wait, and you

nod as you set the tape up again. David sings, and I should

feel silly dancing in the living room, the two of us, fall-

ing into the rhythm, me mirroring your moves, but I’m into

it, feel the way his voice starts to stir the cold stew of my

imagination. But you—already you spin, a vortex in invisible arms,

forgetting anything not him. We’ll spend the hour this way, and

another tomorrow and the next, till you sigh and tremble

from exhaustion, the afternoon dance whirling to a finish like

a dune in a gale. Somehow you’ve endeared me to Bowie a

bit, and as for you, something of the woman you’ll be begins to flower.


            A Golden Shovel after David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”

            (Let’s Dance, 1983)



Deer Season


They amble these hills, follow the track of other deer.

Tussock tamped down, leaves nibbled—a pack of deer.


A doe groans and pushes in high brambles and grass,

down and up she gets, another push—an amniotic sac of deer.


An early moon rises on the scroll of night: a patter

of hooves, a snap of twigs, the shadow black of deer.


In a meadow glossed gold with dandelions,

a sudden spring hosts dozens of laid-back deer.


The faun, polka-dotted, nurses from his mother. She eats

the afterbirth for protection and health—a snack of deer.


Beneath a cluster of pines, two young bucks spar:

grunting and huffing—the antler smack of deer.


The way the sunlight makes them glisten in the fields.

The way the woods hide the cognac fur of deer.


The doe admires her faun who rolls in a patch

of wild violets. A blanket of sky to the backs of deer.


The herd pads through the underbrush slow and steady

until a crash—they swing around—the double-back of deer.


From my window I watch the edge of the forest

for their movements—jot notes in my almanac of deer.



C Reilly has work published or forthcoming from 300 Days of Sun, Sheila-Na-Gig, Dunes Review, and others. When she's not writing, she crochets, plays tennis, and practices her Italian. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with two cats who hate each other. Follow her on Twitter @Aishatonu, on Bluesky, or on Instagram @jc.reilly.


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