Mrs. Cavendish and the Dancer
By Stephen Dunn
Mrs. Cavendish desired the man in the fedora
who danced the tarantella without regard
for who might care. All her life she had
a weakness for abandon, and, if the music
stopped, for anyone who could turn
a phrase. The problem was
Mrs. Cavendish wanted it all
to mean something in a world crazed
and splattered with the gook
of apparent significance, and meaning
had an affinity for being elsewhere.
The dancer studied philosophy, she told me,
knew the difference between a sophist
and a sophomore, despite my insistence
that hardly any existed. It seemed everyone
but she knew that sadness awaits the needy.
Mr. Cavendish, too, when he was alive,
was equally naïve, might invite a wolf
in man’s clothing to spend a night
at their house. This was how the missus
mythologized her husband – a man of what
she called honor, no sense of marital danger,
scrupled beyond all scrupulosity.
The tarantella man was gorgeous and oily,
and, let’s forgive her, Mrs. Cavendish
was lonely. His hair slicked back, he didn’t
resemble her deceased in the slightest,
which in the half-light of memory’s belittered
passageways made her ga-ga. And I, as ever,
would cajole and warn, hoping history
and friendship might be on my side.
Mrs. Cavendish, I’d implore, lie down
with this liar if it feels good, but, please,
when he smells most of sweetness, get a grip,
develop a gripe, try to breathe your own air.
My kids and I spontaneously decided to see The Favourite, which I had seen before and they had not. It's still very well-made and well-acted but quite depressing in the end. Paul worked from home so that, in the late afternoon, we could drive Daniel to National Harbor for MAGFest, where he was meeting friends for the weekend. There was lots of traffic and I took only lousy photos out the window but there were lots of scenic lights around the casino and driving through Tysons Corner:
Since we had ordered pizza for lunch, we had leftovers for dinner, then we watched this week's episode of The Orville, which was unbalanced; I appreciate that they dealt with two things Next Gen would never have done, porn addiction and not being able to save everyone, but the latter story really deserved more focus, since the characters seemed shallow in their general disinterest. Then we watched last night's episode of The Masked Singer because the internet said it was hilarious crack and the internet was right!