The Common Good
March-April 1996

Father Dancing

by Fredrick Zydek | March-April 1996

My father liked to dance alone.

My father liked to dance alone.
Late at night, when he was sure
the rest of the house was sleeping,
he would turn on the old Philco
and dance with the broom.

One Summer, when mother sent me
out with his lunch, I caught him
doing the rhumba in the berry patch.
Music seemed to come from his pores.
One Winter, he waltzed for the cows.

I went to the barn to feed the cats.
I found him doing a perfect pirouette.
His arms spun out and up
until he was like a giant top
spinning before the stalls.

The cows were lowing into their cuds.
I could tell they'd seen it all before.
Occasionally he would spin to a stop,
bow, kiss one of them right on the nose,
and two-step back into his turning.

One day I caught him dancing nude
in the small meadow down past our creek.
He and the dance were exquisite as prayer.
I thought of Noah's sons covering
their father's nakedness, and wondered why.

FREDRICK ZYDEK taught theology and creative writing for 20 years and now farms 450 acres of soybeans, corn, and wheat in Nebraska.

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