Line dancing with Matthew Rhys

for alicia sometimes

I just want to die at that moment in
The Americans when Matthew Rhys (or

should I say Philip, a Russian double-
agent whose actual name is Mischa 

line dances in a crowded country & 
western bar somewhere in Virginia,

alone but somehow at home, at last.
Is it something about his careful joy,

or his brand-new, clunky suede boots?
Thumbs hooked in the too-tight jeans,

the hand claps, swivels, furtive glances?
Whatever the reason, I’ll die right here,

thx. The instant Mischa turns to see
an American woman coax her husband

(who could be Benjamin Netanyahu
onto the dance floor, oh-so-reluctant,

we realize something about dancing &
about love, how some just don’t get it

(unlike Mischa, who knows the moves,
who has found his place, here, at last.

Kill me so I don’t have to live beyond
this scene, in which lines fall into place,

in which bodies become honky-tonk,
in which music becomes lines of words.

I don’t mind being strangled or shot,
as long as Mischa’s the one doing it, &

like I said, make it right after this scene,
pls & thx. Oh & Mischa: forget me when

you leave this bar. Extract peanut shells
from the soles of those boots & walk on.

Don’t look back as you exit the cubicle
where my crumpled body lies. It’s okay.

I can take a new form, whichever you like.
I could be your cowboy hat, or the horse

you rode in on. Just say the word, Mischa.
It’s dark in here. Light up my line. Dance.
David Prater
David Prater

David Prater is an Australian-born writer, editor and parent. His interests include mince pies, ice hockey and Joy Division.

View his full biography.

Articles: 83

Express yourself