"Ginny Stopped Dancing" by Jeanne Guillemin, contributed by Matthew Meselson (2021)
Neither family nor friends knew that my late wife, Jeanne Guillemin, wrote poetry. But among her papers and notebooks I have found nearly 150 poems. A selection will be published privately. Here is "Ginny Stopped Dancing".
31. Ginny Stopped Dancing
Ginny stopped dancing years ago,
arms and legs agangle at the village hall,
to the stomp of country tunes and calls.
But not before she rammed her car
into a boulder in our circular drive, perhaps
the first sign of something amiss, her
misalignment with the world. She blamed
the boulder, an innocent quarter ton of granite.
Six months later her son, the meticulous
carpenter, lovingly fashioned her coffin
Shaker-style, plain as she was, and
chose the granite for the stone beneath which
she lies. Why did she die while I lived on?
I kept passing her cottage on the hill, pondering
this mystery. She twirled and leapt and
then the music within her went silent.
The fiddlers played on and others kept dancing.
Her son had a new sadness about him, his
workshop glowed bright with sunlight and quiet industry.
And I took life as it came. What choice did I have?