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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.



By Rose Salinas




I look for the dancers I came to see,

but no one stands out, it's not like I thought it would be.
No kohl darkened eyes or flowing manes of hair
nor gold coins adorning swirling skirts that flair.

Instead, I see several women seated at a table so quietly.
Conversing softly — they look so ordinary to me.
Bedecked not in jewels but in caftans, plain and dull.
All just kind of average, no special presence or hypnotic pull.

But as I turn to leave something catches my attention
just a sliver of sparkle — not really much to mention.
Then bare toes peeking beneath the hem of their covers,
reds, pinks, and purples like petals on flowers.

In the blink of an eye, a desert wind seems to stir across the room.
The music begins, zills raise, covers drop, and a rainbow of colors bloom,
as a flash flood of coins and bangles shimmer across the floor.
Now, this is more in keeping with Middle Eastern lore.

Before my very eyes, these ordinary women, why they could be you or me,
emerge like butterflies from drab cocoons, beautiful and sensual for all to see.
The magic takes hold as the rhythmic drums pulse through my heart,
and my head swirls dizzily with each beaded skirt.

All that was hidden is now revealed, not just flesh or the glitter of their wear,
but that secret self, the essence of being a woman, self-confident and self-aware.
I want — no, I need — to be one of them, to feel that inspiration,
to be secure in the knowledge that each of us is a unique and exotically beautiful creation.




About this Poem

This poem originally appeared in "Eye-to-Eye, The Karavan Newsletter" Volume 2, #4, March 1, 1998.


About the Poet

About Rose M. Salinas, in her own words (in 2004):

Hard to believe I submitted this as my first poem to Shira seven years ago. This poem, Butterflies, is still a favorite as it expresses my belly dance beginnings. I have since performed with Karen Barbee's Karavan Dance troupe in San Antonio, Texas, over the years and most recently with a troupe based in Maryland. I cannot begin to explain what this art has done for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The courage it has taken me to look at myself in the mirror and to perform on stage has blessed the rest of my life. I finally had the courage to leave a job I hated, to sell everything that did not fit in my car, and move from Texas to Washington, DC. Now I have a job I love and the time to enjoy the rest of my life. I have been able to indulge my other passions, such as horses and painting and even make money at both. Life is good!

Other poems by Rose Salinas on this web site:



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