BELLY DANCERS for Artie (1/15/1947 – 2/14/2007) by Claudia Lapp

“Who am I ?”
Who is carrying this body?”
                 - Kalu Rinpoche
 
You can go anywhere now, friend!
By the time I eat dolmas in the restaurant
and raise a glass of Sicilian wine with my husband
to four belly dancers in fedoras (St Valentines Day Massacre get-up),
maybe you, newly bereft of body, came in to follow their musk, get
an eyeful of bare midriffs and tattoos spilling from velvet halters.
Maybe you sat in our booth to watch arabesques of bangled arms
as the beauties moved to cymbals and drums, kohl-dark eyes inviting.
With no body to feed nor tongue to use,
only a memory of desire, habit revived
by luscious flash of hips and bells.
“Who am I to not want/
the warmth of the flame…”,
you once asked in a poem.
Tonight, a harem undulates for you,
waving scarves on this your departure day.
You can go anyplace now.