Out of stillness, a gesture.
Ahand, strong wrist;
fingers spinning air.
Then: passes, feints, preliminaries
—like the wing-struts of a learning bird—
begin to build.
Calmly, the cantaor drops one word, ‘Now,’
into the kerosene silence,
and suddenly the world is thick with eyes:
a hundred hissing jets of black flame.
It is the dead, keeping vigil.
Their dancer is about to make the journey.
At the front of the stage
he straightens like a cobra—or a victim,
transfixed by the event horizon,
looking for a way to begin.
Away to cross the divide.
And behind him goes the jaleo:
now soft, now insistent; understanding,
‘Si, eso; si. Eso si. Vamos ya.
The spiral rises another level.
And he rises to it, rapt, finally forgetting,
blind before the door
where there was no door before.
And in the air there is a veil of sweat
like the sweat on the veil of Veronica.