Her Dance

By Colleen Pedersen

From the Autumn 2004 issue of Hopes & Dreams, newsletter of the Illinois Chapter, Huntington's Disease Society of America.

I wrote this poem for a writing class a few years ago and it’s about my mother-in law who has HD and my husband who is at risk.

I took your hand
Agreeing to the chance;
What unsuspected harm can hide
Behind one simple dance?

And you--your words--
They captured me
Fresh full of English grace;
Who knew the Anglo-tragedy
Behind your Nordic face?

I followed you
Your lead was sure
In you I cast my trust.
I never thought the beat could change
And cause me to get lost.

But furtively--
Another took the wand;
Predestiny had tapped my arm
Though still our dance went on.

I met her then --
Her beauty stark,
Her latent flaw untold.
Such giddy warmth she offered me
With fingers thin and cold.

You loved her so
The memory burns,
I saw it in your face.
The grief was still unrecognized
The pain too new to trace.

Her flinching eyes
Her shrugging arms--
This one I would replace--
The grimace-smile that pulled her lips
And twitched upon her face.

But recklessly
with single eye
So foolishly entranced
We dashed ahead in ignorance
Indifferent to her dance.

So meaningless,
Each quirk and jerk and shake
'Til truth had found its ugly voice
and spoken much too late.

And now you flinch;
I turn away
And take protective stance--
Your every twitch remindful of
The meaning of her dance.

Is love enough
to see us through
this chain of tainted seed?
This never was the kind of dance
To which I had agreed.

I took your hand
Accepting to the dance;
I love you so, but have I lost
Because I took the chance?

Created and maintained by Renette Davis. Send comments to Renette by clicking here.

Created: Nov. 6, 2004
Last updated: Nov. 14, 2010)